The Heckford Issue

One of the key issues relating to King Edward VII Memorial Park (KEMP) is what has become known as ‘The Heckford Issue’.

It’s pretty complex but essentially this would mean using the Heckford brownfield site for most of the works with only minimal work going on in KEMP itself.

The table below gives a brief summary of the main issues concerning both sites.

Impact AssessmentThames Water's Preferred Greenfield KEMP
Foreshore Scheme
Brownfield Alternative Heckford Industrial Estate Scheme
Duration of works in the park3.5 years18 months
Impact on the environmentWork site is adjacent to the
wildflower meadow which is vital in Tower Hamlets’ biodiversity program for its role in protecting pollinators. The foreshore has been classified by Natural England as being a ‘Priority Habitat’.
This site is listed under The Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act Section 41.Thames Water’s preferred option would destroy the foreshore, a protected habitat.
The small proposed site is far from the wildflower meadow and can be
placed mainly over paved areas which can be reinstated after the
works. SaveKEMP believe there is scope to further reduce the size of the
construction site in the park.
Number of trees to be cut
About 40 mature trees. All the ones on the riverfront except those to the right of the Rotherhithe Rotunda
(facing the river).
The vegetation at the back of the
park is mainly shrubs and other
ornamental plants with a much
faster growing rate than the trees on
the riverfront.
Access to green spaceLoss of the complete front of the park (the most heavily used part of the park). Loss of the heavily used football pitch.
Large site hoarding area blocking access to the river and discouraging
the use of the rest of the park. TW proposes to keep a minute area facing the river to the right of the
Rotherhithe Rotunda accessible to the public. The view from it would
still be mainly onto the worksite. The main grassed area of the park
will be further reduced by the relocation of the playground.
Loss of a smaller area of park in a little used section with discrete access.
All amenities still accessible to the public as they are now. Riverfront
left undisturbed.
Access through the park for
cyclists and pedestrians (strategic cycle
route, commuter route)
Access across the park controlled by construction workers. Pedestrians and cyclists will have to
wait while construction traffic enters the site.
No access restrictions along the Thames Path and strategic cycle route.
Construction traffic has discrete access to small shaft site.
LegacyConcrete promontory jutting out into the river.
Character of the park and riverfront altered forever.
4 Ventilation structures/ emergency air release towers in the front of the park: two 4m tall and two 6m tall (the latter do not appear in TW artist impressions of the park post-works but are present n all their technical plans).
Community perception of sewerage works in park.
The park can be returned to its original state. Ventilation structures
kept within industrial estate. Potential for 2000m2 of retained
land to be used for new open space once works are complete at Heckford.
Impact on park users during
Very limited use of park facilities because of noise, dust, reduced park size.Most of the park and all its facilities will be available for use as normal.
Impact on local businesses
around the park
Businesses along Wapping Wall are heavily dependent on foot traffic coming from the East along the Thames Path. This option would
impact such businesses by limiting both the use of Thames Path and creating a huge amount of traffic in
Glamis Road. Schools and local groups will be less likely to use the park during construction and may not return afterwards.
Vent structures could discourage return to park.
Some businesses would require relocation; however current businesses are not location dependant.
Heckford Estate is likely to be developed regardless of Thames Water’s plans thus making it a building site anyway. Depending on the nature of postwork
redevelopment of the Heckford site, more jobs could be created in
the area and as well as additional housing.
TunnellingMain tunnel under river for most of the route.Main tunnel leaves river route earlier. Connection tunnel required. Thames Water and the Council
have undertaken an initial
engineering review and state the impacts of tunnelling would be negligible.
Transport of materialsThis option will create more spoil as it requires a 7500m2 foreshore temporary cofferdam. Possible to use river for materials delivery for some of the material but not all.Fewer temporary structures
therefore less material to transport. No option for river transport.
Impact on ResidentsWork site closer to residential area
(Free Trade Wharf). Residents of Peartree Estate are also exposed to worksite / holding areas.
More residents close to work site. TW can encase the construction site to reduce noise and dust.
NoiseThe foreshore area has very low background noise levels. This makes it impossible for Thames
Water to mitigate noise issues to an acceptable level.
Both the Heckford and the back of the park sites have high noise levels due to their proximity to the
Highway and the DLR. Easier for TW to mitigate noise production so it does not exceed current background levels.
Security risksTunnel structures could become classified a terrorist target and barricaded, detracting from the park.Industrial area already has high security structures fenced off.
CostMarine construction has a higher likelihood of cost increase.Alternative scheme cost neutral when compared with foreshore scheme.