CON-sultation Results: Democracy is an optional
You are probably aware that on 17th May Thames Water published the preliminary feedback report on Phase 2 of Consultation. They are sticking to the foreshore, ignoring the views of our community and those of a score of experts who told them that the brownfield option was the better one. Here is our official PR, sent out to comment on the very disappointing news:
Thu 17 May 2012 - SaveKEMP regretfully announces that Thames Water have decided to disregard the views of over 10,500 people and remain hell bent on destroying the only park left in Shadwell.
This morning, the utility company published their feedback report following Phase 2 of their public consultation on the controversial Thames Tideway Tunnel. Talking to Carl Dunsire, SaveKEMP Chairman, Phil Stride, Head of the Super Sewer, has revealed that Thames Water have come up with some mitigating measures with which they think they can lessen the disruption during the works although the permanent ’legacy’ structures in the park, including four sewer vents would stay.
”We are deeply disappointed that Thames Water have ignored the overwhelming will of the local community and our elected representatives and decided to build on our only local park instead of a brownfield site that is earmarked for redevelopment. What they have failed to understand is that as a community, we are prepared to put up with some disruption as long as the park is saved. They failed to understand the very first premise of the campaign and, once again, they have shown utter disregard for our community.”
To add insult to injury, although over 1,500 people sent individual responses raising serious concerns about Thames Water’s proposals for King Edward Park and over 10,500 people signed our petition, Thames Water have stated that “no new information has been highlighted that would change the conclusions”. They also do not intend to offer the community another targeted consultation, thus denying us a chance to challenge their plans.
From the report it transpires that all the company is prepared to offer in terms of mitigation is a chicken wire fence that will allow people to see the worksite from what remains of the park. We fail to understand how this can be construed as a mitigation measure.
SaveKEMP has asked Thames Water to hold a public meeting to inform the community directly of the reasons for their decision.
In the meantime, the campaign and community will carry on fighting with the help of Tower Hamlets Council.
There were great expectations across London. After all, many communities mobilised to oppose the poor, often plainly ludicrous, plans offered by the utility company. We are talking 1000s of people.
In our area the response was, as you know, outstanding despite Thames Water’s scaremongering and spreading lies about having to tunnel under a vast amount of properties (11 more than with the foreshore plan), causing 100 imaginary people to lose their imaginary jobs at Heckford, bringing chaos to the Highway (yes, because TfL is so concerned with having the Highway always running smoothly that they made it an Olympic lane and closed almost all turns on and off it for weeks) and a few more phantasmagorical pseudo-reasons.
Unfortunately, the Super Sewer 2.0 was a let-down. No big changes, no enlightened approach, no sympathy and , what is more alarming, no respect for the most basic tenets of democracy. We at SaveKEMP are absolutely incensed, that is no mystery or surprise. From the emails and comments we have received, it looks like there are not a lot of happy bunnies out there in Shadwell, Wapping, Limehouse and Stepney either.
Thames Water’s consultation was more “CON” and less “sultation”… Over 10,500 signatures and 1,525 individual responses apparently did not bring any new argument, compared to Phase 1, to make the big Thames Water’s boys change their mind. Funny that, because the overwhelming majority of those replies where all pointing to the fact that Heckford was the better alternative and of course there was no trace of the Heckford plan in the first round of CON-sultation. So how could the arguments have been the same? Also, the plans for the foreshore were different compared to the originals ones so, again, the objections could not have been the same.
Luckily there is another set of people who is very upset with the outcome of the CON-sultation: our Council. The Cllrs we have spoken to have no intention of going down without a fight and Mayor Lutfur himself, normally a very collected man, seems quite sore about this. The fight is far from over.
We have asked Phil Stride to hold a public meeting so that they can tell us why we are such morons and why we are causing a mighty fuss about nothing. The date is 14th June but it is not confirmed as yet so please do watch this space and/or the FB page.
In the meantime, our old friend Nick Tennant delighted us regaling the plebs with one of his legendary pearls of wisdom: “We think we can leave the park a better place and leave improvements behind us. […] We believe we can make improvements as a result of us doing this work.” http://www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2012/05/king-edward-memorial-park-set-for-thames-tideway-tunnel/
Well, Nick Tennant may find poo-pipes a’ la mode ( I dare not imagine how he must have decorated his home…) but here in our area we are simple people- all the trendies are around Spitalfields and Shoreditch, sorry- so sewer-chic has not reached us yet. In case we had not made it sufficiently clear, we are happy and content with our park as it is.
To prove that, here’s our Toni voicing the general feelings of our community : “The sheer arrogance of Nick Tennant is astounding! Yes, the park will remain open, but would you want to relax, play with your children, exercise in a major building site? As for temporary, three and a half years plus, is a pretty long temporary! As for improvements, we love the park exactly as it is, thank you very much. How on earth can he say it will be a better place, when he neither knows nor cares about our park or community? For 14 long weeks Thames Water told us they were listening and consulting with us. They neither listened nor heard, and the only part of consultation we got was a big fat CON!”