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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.

Thames Water's trusted adviser on Community Engagement


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.”

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.

Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, one of Nick Tennant's favourite places


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!”



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4 Responses to “CON-sultation Results: Democracy is an optional”

  1. On May 23, 2012 at 10:54 pm Marie McMahon responded with... #

    I really can’t believe how these people just won listen!! I was only in the park today celebrating a birthday for a 5yr old and it was lovely. My own son celebrated his 4th birthday in this park. There was children running around and playing everywhere in this park today. The government complain about childhood obesity and children always on computers etc, especially in Tower Hamlets…..well it amazes me that they haven’t figured it out yet it don’t take a genius, it’s because Tower Hamlets is overcrowded, loads of people and children are squashed into small tiny flats on god knows what floors with no gardens, so they need this park as somewhere calm, peaceful and beautiful that they can take there children to or even just relax themselves. Also by interacting with other children in ths playful nvironment children learn social skills which hopefully help them grow into much better adults instead of the bad reputation that young people have today. But as usual the people of Tower Hamlets don’t matter. I really hope they reconsider.

  2. On June 22, 2012 at 10:13 pm Gina Hayden responded with... #

    Does anyone else feel the urge to lie in front of the bulldozers in a ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’-type protest? I am certainly game.

  3. On July 3, 2012 at 7:50 am Berkeley Vincent responded with... #

    I do not understand how Thames Water had any authority to select the King Edward the VIIth Memorial Park as a “Site” for their plans in the first place.
    The Park was and is simply “Not Available”.
    As I understand it, the K.E.M.P. was dedicated For Ever to the people of the East End by no less than the King and Queen, the present Sovereign’s Grandparents, in memory of a King who leant his name to an Age.
    This is no small thing.
    It is clear that Thames Water is behaving in a high-handed manner, but as I say, the K.E.M.P. is NOT available. I respectfully recommend that you be determined that the Park remain as given for ever, and that you submit the matter to The Queen and The Prince of Wales.
    I have only visited the Park once.
    As a subject of Queen Elizabeth II, I was very happy to find the Park after walking along the side of the River amid so much monotonous glass, water and concrete.
    While the Park struck me as definitely forlorn (which is a point worth bearing in mind although it was February) I rejoiced in the natural land-space it offered to my wandering feet, and i especially enjoyed the opportunity of inspecting an interesting building and admiring and treading the natural green turf of the King Edward Memorial Park. A humble memorial between a famously good-natured King and his poorer subjects, a gift that should be preserved intact for ever and protected by all Authorities for ever, Royal, Parliamentary, European, Regional (London) and Local.

    No compromise. The Park is not available.
    In my humble view this is all that needs to be established.
    The idea of a Company taking over the Park for at least seven years and leaving four permanent structures on the land is as outrageous as it is Draconian, and smacks of abuse of power.

  4. On July 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm Berkeley Vincent responded with... #


    [Article from "Royal Borough", February/March 2011, No. 168, page 3 "News". "Royal Borough" is a local newspaper for residents published by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.]

    “Councillors and local people have taken a stand against Thames Water’s bid to use Cremorne Gardens as part of their plans for the controversial Thames Tunnel scheme.

    “Local residents and Kensington and Chelsea Councillors met Phil Stride, Head of Thames Tunnel, to deliver a 1,000-name petition expressing their opposition to the proposals.

    “The meeting took place in Cremorne Gardens in Lots Road, which Thames Water wants to use as an access route to the works area on the river foreshore.

    “Council representatives told Thames Water that they will not allow Cremorne Gardens to be used in this way and have said the company needs to look for an alternative access route.

    “Cremorne ward councillors have been campaigning for some time to prevent the use of Cremorne Gardens. They have been supported by Cllr. Nicholas Paget-Brown, Cabinet Member for Environment, who said that priority must be given to dealing with leaks and upgrading the Counters Creek sewer rather than the super sewer.

    “Cllr. Matthew Neal said: “I am delighted that so many residents signed the petition to save Cremorne Gardens. We all appreciate the time Phil Stride has spent listening to residents’ opposition through the consultation process.”"

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