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Fury as Big Half charity run on March 4 blocks off Wapping and Limehouse

PUBLISHED: 11:00 21 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:01 22 February 2018

Blocking off Wapping once again... mass of runners along The Highway in the 2016 London Marathon. Photo: Vickie Flores/Wapping

Blocking off Wapping once again... mass of runners along The Highway in the 2016 London Marathon. Photo: Vickie Flores/Wapping

© Vickie Flores

Hundreds of households face being cut off for hours on end with road closures for a half-marathon charity race through east London with only 10 days to go.

Big Half charity run on March 4 goes through Wapping Lane and along Wapping High Street towards Tower Bridge. Picture source: Google Big Half charity run on March 4 goes through Wapping Lane and along Wapping High Street towards Tower Bridge. Picture source: Google

The 13-mile ‘Big Half’ charity race with 15,000 runners will shut roads from 5am to 12.30pm on March 4, sealing off whole neighbourhoods across Wapping, Limehouse and Canary Wharf—any parked vehicle left standing will be towed away.

The route takes in Tower Bridge, East Smithfield, The Highway, the Limehouse Link Tunnel, Aspen Way, Canary Wharf and back along The Highway, as well as districts south of the Thames down to Greenwich.

But the run is also now going through Wapping itself, along Wapping Lane and Wapping High Street to Vaughan Way.

The whole of Wapping will be completely blocked off by the event, including the D3 and 100 bus routes.

Mayor John Biggs... unaware 'Big Half' charity run would go through Wapping where he lives. Picture: Mike Brooke Mayor John Biggs... unaware 'Big Half' charity run would go through Wapping where he lives. Picture: Mike Brooke

Yet few people even knew about the change to the route through the narrow, winding cobbled streets along the Wapping waterfront that was finalised nearly a year ago.

Even Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs who lives in Wapping admitted at last Thursday’s ‘Ask the Mayor’ public meeting staged at Hermitage Primary School that he had no idea.

Details never appeared on Tower Hamlets or TfL websites to alert thousands of families facing yet more disruption.

Now opposition councillors want to know why four big events are being allowed through the East End between now and August.

'Big Half' route down Wapping Lane (on the right) turns right, heading west along Wapping High Street (ahead). Picture source: Google 'Big Half' route down Wapping Lane (on the right) turns right, heading west along Wapping High Street (ahead). Picture source: Google

“Nowhere else in London has so many road closures,” Cllr Andrew Wood tells tomorrow’s East London Advertiser.

“There was still no communication from the council or TfL less two weeks before the event about the road closures that they had agreed to.

“Nobody thought to consult residents about the last minute route change through Wapping.”

Yet the authority knew last year the final details about what roads would be shut off. Planning for The Big Half run has been going on since early 2016, the town hall admits.

A council spokesman told the Advertiser yesterday: “A meeting was held with London Marathon Events last May which set out traffic management and the route that was amended in early 2017 to pass through more of Wapping—this was finalised last May.”

But many households only heard about the change at last week’s public meeting with the Mayor.

Cllr Wood complained last April about lack of consultation, while Cllr Julia Dockerill asked for information at the council’s full meeting on January 17—but still no details were given.

TfL issued a traffic order closing the roads along the Big Half route which also goes across Tower Bridge and through Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Deptford and Greenwich on the south side of the river, finishing at the Cutty Sark. All parked vehicles have to be removed by 1am or be towed to a car-pound.

But few households in Wapping and Limehouse had heard about the restrictions until this week—despite the organisers saying they formally announced it last April.

Nothing was mentioned by the local authority until this week—and only in response to questions raised by council members and media inquiries.

The organisers, Vitality Big Half, who manage the annual London Marathon that also passes along The Highway, insist they delivered leaflets in the area in October and November.

But a full mail-out to 170,000 addresses with road closure details only went out on February 5.

Their spokesman said: “We aim to keep road closures to a minimum and re-open them as quickly as possible to minimise any inconvenience to residents and businesses. Roads in Wapping close from 5am to 12.30pm, but we’ve arranged four crossing points for pedestrians and traffic during the event.”

Two access crossing points along The Highway close from 8.45am to 10am for runners, Wapping Lane to Cannon Street and both sides of Glamis Road, then reopen for the rest of the event.

The Vaughan Way link to Dock Street shuts from 8.45 to 9.45am, but the Kennet Street link to St Katharine’s Way closes for three hours, 8.45am to 11.45am.

The half-marathon on March 4 is a new fundraising event with 40 East End groups among the charities to benefit.

The March 4 half-marathon is a new fundraising event with 40 East End groups among the charities to benefit. Other events with road closures in the same neighbourhoods are the London Marathon on April 22, Prudential Bike Ride in July and the Triathlon in August.

Other events with road closures in the same neighbourhoods are the London Marathon on April 22, Prudential Bike Ride in July and the Triathlon in August.

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