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Letter from Professor David Smith

Dr David Smith runs a business consultancy in East London and is a Professor at the University of Hertfordshire Business School. He holds a doctorate in Organisational Psychology from the University of London and is the author of two books and numerous articles on effective evidence based organisational decision- making.

He is passionate about preserving the Thames foreshore. He was born and brought up in Southend, next to the Thames, and is acutely aware of the importance of providing foreshore and park space to the local community. 

This is the text of his letter:

Save KEMP and Foreshore from short-sighted planning decisions

The fight starts now to persuade the planning decision-makers who will decide on the fate of East Enders to act on the big environmental picture and not get conned by a deceitful Thames Water, who is trying to force us into a greenfield, not brownfield, option.

Thames Water is a disingenuous organisation

So, it is time to tell everyone that Thames Water is a disingenuous organisation that is destroying the local community and environment, and with massive arrogance treating the people of East London with utter contempt by destroying the only green space people have for miles around.

We all agree that cleaning up the Thames is vital , but this can be achieved with a brownfield option without destroying a very special place – the beautiful King Edward Memorial Park, and in particular its wonderful foreshore.

Once the foreshore has been destroyed, we will never get it back

The situation Thames Water does not explain with its glossy artist’s impression of what it is doing is that, once the foreshore has been destroyed, we will never get it back. In a decade we will regret not going for a brownfield option.

We will regret not seeing the bigger environmental picture, but instead falling for Thames Water’s recommendations, which are all based on saving it money and making things easier for their own organisation.

The foreshore that will be destroyed by Thames Water is a special place not only for environmentalists, but also ordinary people who enjoy wonderful views from the Park.

No disingenuous talk of ‘extending the park’ 

The foreshore comes and goes as the river ebbs and flows and connects us with nature. But Thames Water wants to destroy this special feature of the riverside and replace it with a massive concrete slab. And once the foreshore has gone – thanks to Thames Water – it will be gone forever. No glossy picture and disingenuous talk of ‘extending the park’ will bring it back.

Amazingly Thames Water admits it is destroying the foreshore in its own PR spiel. It says ‘We will increase the size of the Park by 2000m2. What does this mean when translated back from their disingenuous spin? Well, it means we will have lost 2000m2 of precious foreshore – an act of pure vandalism.

Consultation process has been a farce

Remember, Thames Water is the servant of the people and should listen to their wishes – particularly to East Enders who have hardly any green space and access to special foreshore places. 

The whole so-called consultation process has been a farce from beginning to end. First we were presented with only two options, both greenfield – ‘Do you want us to destroy the park or destroy the foreshore?

Then there were lots of confusing statistics generated from dodgy surveys designed to confuse ordinary people. This was followed by a totally one sided assessment of the options, designed to lead the planning decision-makers into rejecting the brownfield site option in the face of the wishes of the local community.

  • In Thames Water’s latest leaflet it talks about the brownfield site being a threat to jobs – not proven.
  • They talk about using boats not lorries for construction – but given the cost will they really do this?
  • They talk about the disruption to local residents – but not about the fact that residents don’t want the greenfield park and foreshore option at all.

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