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Local children present Save KEMP petition to Thames Water

Local children present Save KEMP petition to Thames Water

A child could make the right decision concerning King Edward Memorial Park – will Thames Water be able to?

The signatures of 10,514 East Enders petitioning against the destruction of KEMP were submitted on Monday 6 February, as well as 1,203 responses to the Phase 2 consultation.

The campaign to save King Edward VII Memorial Park from Thames Water’s plans to use it as a construction site for their Super Sewer organised an assembly at St Paul’s Primary School in Shadwell.

This was done with the help and support of Headmaster Terry Bennett to hand in the Save KEMP petition to Phil Stride, Head of the Tideway Tunnel project.

Children need ‘A Space for Me’

Children of the school Council, ages ranging from 5 to 11 years old, set up a play, written by them, to show Mr Stride what a typical day in a typical flat in their area is like and to convince him to opt for the brownfield site available for construction and leave their park alone.

In “A Space For Me” the children enacted a scene from ordinary life in Tower hamlets, in cramped noisy quarters: while mum is cooking, her children argue. They are bored and overactive has they have no space indoors to play and run around. Mum and dad decide to go to the local park to burn off some of their energy and to let them play and get fresh air. The children phone up their friends and they all agree to meet up to go to KEMP.

But once there a sign tells them that the park is closed due to Thames Water’s works. The children have no place to go and have to return to their cramped living, sad and frustrated.

After the play the children stood in a semicircle and listed all the reasons why they need KEMP to remain the intact. Mr Stride thanked the children and received the Save KEMP petition.

Handing in the petition and the responses is a milestone for the campaign that has worked hard to make sure Thames Water hears the views of the community.

Image St Pauls Primary School deliver Save KEMP petition

Phil Stride from Thames Water receiving the Save KEMP petition from children at St Paul's Primary School on Monday


“We have campaigned over a year, in all weather conditions, to make sure that the whole community was fairly represented and got a chance to voice its views,” said Save KEMP Chairman Carl Dunsire.

“Phase 2 consultation is nearly over and we hope that this time round Thames Water do the right thing.

The choice is between the only park we have left and a site that is up for redevelopment and that just happens to have a concrete plant next to it. A child could and, as we have seen today, can see which one to go for. We sincerely hope Thames Water do so, too.”

Thames Water are expected to publish a consultation report in May, followed by a planning application for the super sewer this summer. Let’s hope that this time Thames Water has listened – to the children of St Paul’s Primary School.

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