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Support grows to save Wapping’s King Edward Memorial Park

Support grows to save Wapping’s King Edward Memorial Park

Resident action group KEMP (“Keep King Edward Memorial Park Green”) have stepped up their campaign even further since meeting Thames Water at Glamis Hall in January.

Unanimous support was given to a motion put forward by Cllr Rabina Khan and Cllr Alibor Choudhury proposing full protection of the park at the LBTH councillors meeting yesterday, Wednesday 2 February.

Limehouse based comedian Lee Hurst added his name to the growing petition last week, describing it as a “dreadful idea” when he was interviewed by Docklands 24.

Wapping awareness and support strengthens

Events during January have raised local awareness of Thames Water’s super sewer plans and highlighted what the loss of King Edward Memorial Park means to Wapping, Shadwell and Limehouse.

Walk through King Edward Memorial Park today and you can’t miss the huge banners now on display.

For details of KEMP’s campaign and next events follow @KEMP on twitter and join the KEMP Facebook Page.

Alternative construction sites exist

No one questions the need for a giant super sewer, but what are the practical alternatives to using King Edward Memorial Park in E1W as a construction site and losing its use for years?

Take a look at the video to see Thames Water’s proposed construction route and the alternative brownfield sites available.

More details from KEMPs Emma Puosi below, but her conclusion? “The alternatives are there. Thames Water need to listen, go back to the drawing board and come up with plans that are respectful of our communities”.

Update and personal message from KEMP

An update from Emma Puosi of KEMP explaining what’s been happening, how you can help and the next steps to save King Edward Memorial Park before it’s too late.

Dear supporters,

The campaign is growing more and more. We are gathering political backing and the attention of the media. We are still working very closely with the community and have launched many initiatives aimed at informing as many people as possible of Thames Water’s proposed plans for our lovely King Edward VII Memorial Park.

We have had a fantastic workshop at St Peter’s School, Wapping, with the kids of Year 5. It was a heart-warming experience and the children were absolutely outstanding. We will continue working with them but we are also going to work with two other schools in the area (watch our Facebook page and What’s In Wapping for updates and info).

We have also had a very successful exhibition at Watney Market (Shadwell) last Saturday where we have collected another 452 signatures and launched our new Call to Action. We want Tower Hamlets residents to lobby Boris Johnson. A letter template is available on our website. The Mayor of London’s report on Thames Water seemed to take the Super-Sewer plans at face value. We want him to look at the plans again and realise that our Park will be irreparably ruined should construction take place. Please get involved and circulate our petition and letter among your friends.

John Biggs, our elected Member to the London Assembly, will be addressing the GLA and presenting our petition. He is a strong supporter of our cause and will be telling the Mayor and the Assembly that brownfield sites alternatives do exist. We need as many letters as we can to support him!

But we have exciting news from our Borough as well. We have received a lot of support from our Councillors across the whole political spectrum. On Wednesday 2 February, unanimous support from Tower Hamlets Council to a motion demanding full protection of the Park was won. This is a great result from the meeting which is presided by the mayor and attended by the full chamber of LBTH.

ALTERNATIVE BROWNFIELD SITES

Although it is not the job of residents to look for alternative sites for the Super-Sewer (unlike Thames Water’s employees, we do not get paid for it) we have come up with alternative sites for the project. I must stress that SaveKEMP is not opposing the Tunnel at all. We recognise the pressing need for an update of the sewage system in London and we understand that the EU has commenced legal proceedings against the UK because of the non-compliance to waste-management directives. Yet, we do not feel that the Super-Sewer should be built at the expense of local communities especially when alternatives are available.

But before we address the alternatives, let me spend just a quick word on an issue that has been raised during the exhibition at Watney Market. Some people are worried about the fact that Shadwell Basin is still in Thames Water’s short-list. This was listed as a “major construction” site. Thames Water’s plans clearly state that to pick up the CSO at King Edward VII Memorial Park they need an “intermediate” site which rules out the use of Shadwell Basin automatically. The whole consultation was done on this premise. It is most unlikely that they would turn around now. They would be challenged and sent back to consultation again. They can’t afford the time it would take. In addition, the Basin is a high density populated area and construction there would hardly be allowed. These “implausible sites” have been placed on the short-list just to make the preferred option look reasonable.

We have indicated at least two alternative sites, which I will summarise for you:

  1. The cement plant on the Highway: this is an industrial plant already. Due to the prevailing winds, the ventilation air from the shaft would blow towards the Limehouse link and not towards a residential block as in the case of the park’s foreshore. The plot is plenty big enough and the cement plant, unlike our Park, can be easily be relocated elsewhere. This site is preferable to the Heckford Trading Estate (short-listed by Thames water) because is further away from residential areas.
  1. Corner of Butcher’s Row and Cable Street North: this is a vacant lot marked for development. It is in urgent need of regeneration. I think we can all agree that we do not need yet more luxury flats in this area. We are overcrowded as it is. Thames Water could use this site and the previous one and spare our park but also the lovely St Katherine’s Christian retreat.

The alternatives are there. Thames Water needs to listen and go back to the drawing board and come up with plans that are respectful of our communities.

Keep King Edward Memorial Park Green

For the very latest on KEMP’s campaign and events follow @KEMP on twitter and join their Facebook Page.

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  • http://www.paulbrockphotography.co.uk Brock

    its not their job no, but “do this instead” is a far more sensible and feasible message than “don’t do this”

  • Yvonne

    King Edward Park is one of the reasons I moved to the area. I remember cycling through it and being amazed that London had such a lovely riverside park – aside from Battersea, one of the very few. LEAVE IT ALONE!!!

  • Londondockers

    It is not the save KEMP group’s job to find alternative sites for Thames Water, it is their job to save the local neighbourhood around King Edward VII Memorial park

  • Jayne

    Agree with Helen there has been a lot of disinformation doing the rounds recently and it’s good to have the facts. Keep up the good work KEMP!

  • KO

    Thames Water intends using and thus blighting as much publicly owned green site properties and parks as possible along the route of the sewr for one purpose only … cost … Any alternative like the cement works or the site involves compensating private interests … that is not an issue with public property (or if it is .. the cost is minimal) As usual private profit over public good.

  • Helen

    Thanks for clearing up the rumours about the ‘implausible sites’ – these have lead to a lot of support for the park option, a nasty bit of disinformation in my view. I am busy trying to counteract this tosh and get these people on board.