May 22 2013 Latest news:
Else Kvist, Reporter
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Campaigners against a historic park in Shadwell being used to build a super sewer through London say they are “bitterly disappointed” with Thames Water being “hell bent” on going ahead.
The Save Kemp Campaign handed in more than 10,500 signatures against proposals by the utility company to use the King Edward VII Memorial Park, along the River Thames, to construct the proposed Thames Tunnel, as part of its upgrade of the capital’s sewage system.
Construction work would mean the closure of parts of the memorial park for at least three and half years, and damage the mature vegetation and wildlife habitats beyond repair, according to campaigners.
But this morning Thames Water has published a consultation report stating that the foreshore of the park remains their preferred site for connecting the tunnel.
A brownfield site, at Heckford Trading Estate on the nearby Highway, proposed by campaigners was “not a viable alternative”, according to the report.
Campaign secretary Robin Millward said: “Thames Water have decided to disregards the views of over 10,500 people and remain hell bent on destroying the park.
“We’re bitterly disappointed that Thames Water have ignored the overwhelming will of the local community and our elected representatives and decided to build on the only local park in Shadwell instead of a brownfield site earmarked for redevelopment.
“What they’ve failed to understand is that as a community we’re prepared to put up with some disruption as long as the park is saved.”
Head of London Tideway Tunnels at Thames Water, Phil Stride, said: “Unfortunately, there are no easy or disruption-free options for building this much-needed piece of infrastructure. But we remain as determined as ever to reduce the impacts at the proposed sites as much as possible, whilst ensuring we deliver value for money.”
A further public review of the final proposals for the Thames Tunnel is due to take place this summer before the company submits its final proposals for scrutiny by the Planning Inspectorate in 2013. The project is planned to begin in 2016.