SaveKEMP Campaign Overview
SaveKEMP is a Community Action Group whose aim is to protect the only Park left in our area from being turned into a construction site for the Thames Water Tideway Tunnel. Our campaign is based in the Borough of Tower Hamlets, the second most populous Borough in London, blighted by over-crowding, over-development and lack of green spaces. In particular we represent the communities of Shadwell, Wapping, Limehouse and Stepney, which are all brought together by the common use of the Park.
As supportive as our communities are of the need to clean up our river and improve the Capital’s infrastructure, we were dismayed to learn that Thames Water is planning to do that at the expense of the only Park left in our much built-up area.
The current plans entail extensive works, which would last several years, would damage the mature vegetation and wildlife habitats beyond repair and make the park, its amenities and the Thames Path unusable for the duration of the Tunnel build.
The impact of these plans is disproportionately unfair to local residents in that, unlike many beneficiaries of the sewer in the wider area who have the benefit of a garden, few of the inhabitants of this Borough have any alternative to using public parks if they wish to enjoy a garden environment.
There are viable, cost-neutral brownfield alternatives to the Park; even Thames Water has admitted this. All we ask is that the works are carried out on one of these brownfield sites and that this precious piece of our East End heritage, which is also a key environmental asset, is left alone.
Our campaign has gathered more and more backing since it started in November 2010. We have succeeded in making our local Council reconsider its original position regarding Thames Water’s plans and on 2nd February 2011, Tower Hamlets’ Full Council unanimously passed a motion to protect the Park and oppose Thames Water’s plans.
Likewise, after having submitted a detailed engineering report and impact assessment to the Greater London Authority (GLA) and our Mayor Boris Johnson, we can now count on their support. They have written to Thames Water to ask the company to reconsider and choose one of the brownfield options available in the area instead of destroying our precious park.
SaveKEMP can count on a support base of over 10000 people, the full backing of our Council and Executive Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, that of the Mayor of London and the GLA, of both the MPs for Tower Hamlets, the support of MEPs (please check our endorsements page for some wonderful quotes). In addition to this, KEMP is part of a Conservation area (Wapping Wall); it is an area of Archaeological Importance; a key space in the Tower Hamlets Management Plan 2007 – 2017; a SINC. Yet, the park is not safe and Thames Water is confident that they can ignore all of these factors and the heartfelt views of our community.