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King Edward park STILL under threat

King Edward park STILL under threat

Contrary to what some might believe King Edward Memorial Park (KEMP) is still scheduled for destruction by Thames Water.

Last week Thames Water published the findings of Phase One of the Super Sewer consultation process.

The result? King Edward Memorial Park is still doomed.

People throughout Tower Hamlets reacted with disbelief on hearing that plans to build in the park and its foreshore remain on the list of Thames Waters preferred options for constructing the “Super Sewer”.

More money in shareholders pockets

“I am appalled but not surprised by this,” said one Wapping resident on hearing the news. “They may have turned up at some meetings but all they care about is putting more money in the pockets of their shareholders.”

Opposition to these proposals during the Phase 1 consultation came from Tower Hamlets Council, local MPs, the Mayor of London and GLA and an outraged local community.

This strength of feeling has been reflected in a petition, receiving over 9,000 signatures since the campaign started in December 2010.


The fight to save KEMP goes on

“The outcome of Phase 1 consultation is a blow but won’t deter us,” said Toni Davey, Save KEMP Community Liaison.

“Heckford Street was Thames Water’s alternative option, not ours, but we’re disappointed it’s been lumped together with options that were never going to happen and that no alternative brownfield site is being proposed.  Thames Water said during Phase 1 that they were listening to us but they obviously only heard what they wanted hear. But the fight goes on.”

The Park remains the last large, safe area of open green space between Tower Bridge and the Isle of Dogs where local people can enjoy uninterrupted river views.  It’s the only garden for thousands of people in Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived and built-up London boroughs.

Thames Water claims it has scaled down its plans following Phase 1 consultation but you would be hard pressed to identify any significant changes.

The proposals remain disruptive to community life and fail to address the issue of identifying a “brownfield, not greenfield” alternative site.

A precious breathing space for thousands

The impact extends beyond the immediate community – for instance, a nursery in Whitechapel regularly uses the park to give its children a “day out”.  Nearby, local schools, youth groups, families, pensioners, and faith-based organisations rely on the park for precious breathing space.

SaveKEMP birthday bash 25 June 2011

Most recently Tower Hamlets Council hosted an incredible Halloween event in King Edward Memorial Park on 31st October - attended by hundreds of families from across Tower Hamlets.

Support from our politicians remains strong

The good news is that support from our local politicians remains firm. Here are their comments on the latest developments

MP Jim Fitzpatrick: “I am convinced we need the tunnel but there are different ways to deliver it and we need to ensure we get the best one. Residents must take the opportunity given by the formal consultation to register their views on what is being proposed.”

Local London Assembly member, John Biggs: ”Together with others I have been lobbying hard against Thames Water’s original proposals to build in our park. Their proposals are a lot better than the original plans but would still mean losing a large piece of precious open space for several years. I am pleased that we have persuaded Thames Water to examine the alternative at Heckford Street and we now need a wide consultation and local people need to make their views known.”

Councillor Alibor Choudhury,Tower Hamlets  cabinet member and member of the cross-party working group: ”We will continue to work with the community and the SaveKEMP campaign group to protect King Edward Memorial Park.”

A lively Twitter debate

In an unusual turn of events on the same day that Thames Water published the findings of PhaseOne of the super sewer consultation, Thames 21 (www.thames21.org.uk), ‘an environmental charity working with communities to bring London’s waterways to life’ launched its ‘Back the Thames Tunnel’ campaign in support of Thames Water’s plans.

A lively debate promptly ensued on Twitter as supporters of the Save KEMP campaign (www.savekemp.com) questioned the morality of Thames 21 backing a scheme which will ensure that tens of thousands of East Enders will not be able to see the Thames for years from King Edward Memorial Park – let alone enjoy it.

A key figure amongst those who support Thames Water’s current plans for the super sewer include media multi millionaire and Notting Hill resident Peter Bazalgette, great-great grandson of Victorian civil engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette, who designed the original London sewers.

It is not known if Mr Bazalgette has ever visited King Edward Memorial Park, although we are sure the super sewer plans will not disturb the tranquillity of Notting Hill.

Fundamental questions unanswered

The motives, rationale and effectiveness of the entire Thames Water super sewer project are being widely questioned. Are the super sewer plans being implemented for the wrong reasons and will they even solve London’s sewerage problems?

Keep in touch with developments

For more information about the fight to save King Edward Memorial Park check out the website at www.savekemp.com, follow @SaveKEMP on twitter and find them on Facebook ‘Keep King Edward Park green’.

For further information contact Toni Davey, Community Liaison SaveKEMP
e: tonidavey123@btinternet.com

Thames Water public exhibition

As part of the consultation process, Thames Water will be at Glamis Hall, Cable Street E1 with more information on their updated proposals.  The dates / times are:

Wednesday 23rd November 2pm – 8pm 
Thursday 24th November 2pm – 8pm 
Saturday 26th November 10am – 4pm

Please make the effort to turn up and challenge Thames Water’s determination to build in our park and also complete Thames Water’s “Consultation Feedback Form”.

The fight goes on!

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  • Anonymous

    Yep! We the Kempers had a practise run recently and it all looked quite cosy. The resistance to a foreign owned (http://www.macquarie.com) company like Thames Water Limited ignoring the views of residents to put even more money in their shareholders pockets by destroying King Edward park is symptomatic of the 99% / 1% society in which we now seem to live. Of course the benefit of a Tent City in King Edward Memorial Park would be none of those noisy St Pauls bells chiming every 15 minutes :)

  • Anonymous

    Hi Carlos, yes there is lots we can do to save Kemp and lots more we will be doing. Watch this space for developments coming soon. Please follow @savekemp if you are on twitter.

  • Anonymous

    If you are not with us you are against us.

  • http://twitter.com/ShredniVashtar ShredniVashtar

    Occupy it as a last resort. Tent City? Seriously.

  • Carlos Fabri

    Ok, is there anything we can do to avoid having KEMP closed for the next 3 to 5 years?

  • Elder Statesman

    Mark: Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not really a supporter of Thames Water Utilities’s plans for KEMP – who is!? – but I am attempting to contextualise. TWU will, temporarily, scar our local landscape before returning it to us, in improved condition, after much needed civil engineering works are completed. And all this after transparent consultation over a very emotive and contentious matter. Meanwhile, the Turk’s Head Charitable Trust is attempting to annexe public assets without actually being ‘open’ with regard to their own agenda. Even you have previously conceeded the Turk’s Head should be opened up for community use.

    Rest assured I’m not doubting your sincerity, Mark. I love Wapping as much as you. And I rather suspect were both equally intolerant of injustice. Hence my post.

  • http://twitter.com/baynesmark Mark Baynes

    Dear Soap Dodger ( have to call you because none of your illiterate ramblings have ever been graced by a name) I can take it you are a supporter of the plans by Thames Water for King Edward Memorial Park? 

    No doubt you will take the opportunity of the next Save KEMP meeting to come along, stand up, say your name and state your views.Won’t you? Of course you won’t. I am not sure if I am a do-gooder or someone masquerading as one, but I do know how to spell my name.YoursMark Baynes

  • Elder Statesman

    At the end of the day, Mark, sometimes we need ‘corporate facists’ – for silly little things like infrastructure – rather more than we do both i) sincere do – gooders and ii) those msquerading as do – gooders. Ive only ever known people patronise KEMP during the searing heat of summer. Plus, even the most ardent soap – dodger has been known to patronise Thames Water.

  • Elder Statesman

    At the end of the day, Mark, sometimes we need ‘corporate facists’ – for silly little things like infrastructure – rather more than we do both i) sincere do – gooders and ii) those msquerading as do – gooders. Ive only ever known people patronise KEMP during the searing heat of summer. Plus, even the most ardent soap – dodger has been known to patronise Thames Water.

  • Anonymous

    Do you really? Well this is about King Edward Memorial Park – not the Turks Head. If you feel that strongly about it why don’t you go and demonstrate outside?

  • Elder Statesman

    I kinda feel the same way about the Turk’s Head Charitable Trust and their agenda. During their twenty – year (and unaccountable, self – interested) existence I know of NOT ONE single individual who has benefitted. Meanwhile ’their’ (i.e. our) assets are the subject of laundering between one ‘not – for – profit’ enterprise and another.

  • http://twitter.com/baynesmark Mark Baynes

    By the time we have finished with Thames Water they will be wishing they had never heard of King Edward Memorial Park – time to run these corporate fascists out of the East End.