Endorsements

Wapping resident and Academy Award winning actress Dame Helen Mirren supports Save KEMP

Dame Helen Mirren

“I give my full support to the SaveKEMP campaign.

As a local resident I am aware how little green space there is in our area and hope that the beautiful King Edward VII Memorial Park Green continues to be a garden space for the many local people, who have nowhere else to enjoy a garden environment.”

 

Limehouse resident and Stepney born actor, writer, and director Steven Berkoff supports Save KEMP

Steven Berkoff

“I heartily support the campaign to protect this much cherished area.   Whilst progress marches on with the inevitable need for infrastructure development, we must also sometimes stop to recognise and appreciate elements of our communities which provide countless other benefits, less easily measured.

Parks and green spaces are critically important, especially in cities; we should value them and appreciate the havens they provide us with – so necessary in providing a contrast to a sterile concrete landscape.   We should be spending money to create more green spaces, instead of seeking ways to remove them or alter them beyond all recognition.

We should be investing in the well-being of residents of communities, in the first instance by listening to their needs and desires for their own environments, and valuing parks such as this which have taken years to establish.

King Edward VII Memorial Park is so well-used and so loved, it is appalling that this is in danger of being butchered when there are brownfield sites which would provide equally suitable alternatives. It is as if parks and green spaces are seen by planners simply as ‘undeveloped land’ despite the fact that parks fulfil unique functions and have very specific reasons for existing.

When the park was opened in 1922, it was ‘dedicated to the use and enjoyment of the people of East London for ever.’ Allowing sewerage works to take place here would be an inexcusable betrayal of this benefaction.”

 

Delia Smith has endorsed the Save KEMP campaign

Delia Smith

Delia’s quotation, like her food, is simple, genuine and (for us) very, very tasty!

“Sometimes you don’t agree with things, but you can understand the logic.  In this instance there cannot be any trace of logic – in a built up area that’s highly populated with families, and particularly children who live in flats with no access to a garden,  to remove this tiny bit of green space is quite simply idiotic.

I sincerely hope the permission for this scheme will be withheld.”

Rushanara Ali MP for Bethnal Green and Bow

Rushanara Ali MP

“Accessible open green space is at a premium in East London and King Edward Memorial Park is an important community resource, beloved and used by generations. Cleaning up the Thames doesn’t require our park to be turned into an industrial site.

I fully support the campaign to Keep King Edward Park Green and I add my voice to the voices of thousands of local people asking Thames Water to execute these very necessary environmental works on brownfield land, not greenfield.

We can have a cleaner river and keep our beautiful park, with its views of the Thames, as was intended when the site was given to the people of East London forever.”

 

Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour MP for Poplar and Limehouse and tireless Save KEMP campaigner

Jim Fitzpatrick MP

“I have been impressed by the energy and vigour of local people, for whom King Edward VII Memorial Park is an important part of their lives.

The current proposal will turn one of London’s vital green lungs into an industrial site and leave a permanent scar on the banks of the river.

Thames Water needs to listen, to do its homework more thoroughly, and to come back with alternatives.

Yes to reducing water pollution; yes to keeping King Edward VII Memorial Park green.”

 

Syed Kamall, London MEP supports Save KEMP

London MEP Syed Kamall

“Having previously lived in central London with my family I know how precious every green space is, however small. Most residents in central London do not have gardens and therefore we need our open spaces. This was one of the reasons King Edward Park was endowed in the first place, almost 90 years ago, in densely populated Shadwell and is one of the reasons the battle to preserve deserves the support of all of us who care for London.

I am delighted to be a supporter of the campaign and fully endorse the demand of Boris Johnson and the Chair of the GLA that Thames Water come back after they have investigated alternatives, and prepare a fully costed and detailed report outlining how the proposed work could be amended to mitigate impact on the park and its users both during and after the work takes place.”

 

Charles Tannock, London MEP, supports Save KEMP

Charles Tannock MEP

“I support the campaign to save the King Edward Memorial Park.  Green and open spaces in our London Parks are what makes our great capital city, which I represent, a pleasant place to live in spite of its huge size and population and sometimes high traffic density with associated problems with air quality.

This makes it all the more  important  to protect this popular  park for local residents .

As a London MEP I call on Thames Water to use more appropriate sites which I am informed they have already identified.”

 

Cllr Alibor Choudhury, Independent for Shadwell and Cabinet Member for Resources supports Save KEMP

Councillor Alibor Choudry

“There’s no way I will accept giving up any part of King Edward Memorial Park for the Thames Water sewage tunnel. I will defend local residents and park users affected by the proposals and ensure their concerns are heard at every level of the consultation.”

 

 

 

John Biggs, Labour politician and elected member of the London Assembly for City and East London supports Save KEMP

London Assembly Member John Biggs

“I support the call by residents of Limehouse, Shadwell, Stepney and Wapping for Thames Water to review its preferred options for the Super Sewer and to focus specifically on brownfield sites for this development.

I speak as someone who both endorses the Super Sewer and who knows the Park very well. It is clear to me that the current plans to build on the foreshore of the Park will damage an important local amenity which is more widely used than Thames Water has appreciated.  Additionally, the park has an important role as a part of our heritage in the East End, and it needs to be treated with sensitivity.

Despite the limitations of the current consultation, local people have seized the initiative to make their voices heard. Thames Water has said that it will use information gathered during the current consultation “to address any concerns which may arise”.  Local concerns are very clear.

Thames Water should look again at options for brownfield development, beyond the options currently identified, so that reducing water pollution does not mean that a vital green space  is irreparably damaged and for several years turned into a major construction site.”

Lee Hurst, East End born comedian and regular user of King Edward VII Memorial Park supports Save KEMP

Comedian Lee Hurst

“I think it’s a dreadful idea that one of the best locations for East Enders to enjoy a stroll and great view of the River Thames is to be ruined by this construction project.

I guess we are being walked over again as it saves them having to bother the City.

Why don’t they position it near City Hall where there has already been massive development. At this modern location it wouldn’t look out of place and from the nonsense that comes out of there it would seem to be the ideal place for a sewer.

I am under no illusion that this ‘consultation’ is just paying lip service to the idea of Public Consultation, but what hope that local people protest against this and put up a stiff fight”

 

Gerard Batten, London MEP supports Save KEMP

London MEP Gerard Batten

“Like most Londoners, I fully appreciate the need to update London’s Victoria Sewage system and the requirement for the so-called ‘Super Sewer’. It is simply not acceptable in the 21st century for raw sewage to be released into the Thames, causing severe pollution and killing hundreds of fish whenever there is substantial rainfall and the storm drains cannot cope.

However, I can also appreciate your understandable concerns regarding the impact of the works required on your local park. From what I can see from the information on the website there is certainly a viable case to be made to mitigate the effects of the work on the Park.

Like you, I feel very strongly that London needs green spaces like the King Edward Park and that these are invaluable and contribute greatly to the well-being of residents who use them – I certainly very much enjoy walking in Wanstead Park.

I am very happy for you to add my name to your list of campaign supporters and would appreciate being kept informed as to the progress of the campaign. I am sure that such a dedicated and informed team will succeed in ameliorating the situation and convincing Thames Water to perhaps think again.”

Alan Gilbey*, the celebrated screenwriter, supports Save KEMP

Alan Gilbey

“There’s not much open space in Wapping and Shadwell. Whatever image you may have about how everyone round here now has a mock dock warehouse apartment with a view of the river, those warehouses are walls which keep the majority of people out – and there’s even less grass and trees. Shadwell Park, as the locals call it, is the largest of just a handful of public open spaces on the East End bank of the Thames (go on – count ‘em!) and that makes it precious.

It’s light and open and somewhere that children can run for more than one minute without crashing into a council estate wall or a car. It’s breathing space. Therefore it’s an insult to the generations of East Enders past, present and future who this park was bequeathed to that it can now be considered as the easy option for a sewer development. Decades ago a subway under a road sliced off a corner of Shadwell and that corner has never recovered.

Now Thames Water are talking about years and years of substantial closure whilst they slice a permanent access road across the park and build plant rooms and a modernist tower which may pump raw sewage air. If this was Hampstead or Highgate (which have a lot more open spaces) they wouldn’t even try this, but here it seems that they deem local residents and their few facilities not nearly so important. This isn’t a case of ‘not in my backyard.’ This is ‘not in our only backyard’ – and in an overdeveloped inner city borough like Tower Hamlets it should be obvious that our few public parks must be prized and protected and preserved.”

*Alan Gilbey is a Shadwell born, Bethnal Green living, Bafta winning screenwriter and occasional tour guide. He once had a traumatic school sports day incident in Shadwell Park but doesn’t hold it against it.

Award-winning Producer and Journalist Prof Dick Ross is a strenuous SaveKemp supporter and activist

“I consider that the Stage 1 of the consultation process was handled less than efficently by Thames Water, giving amgiuous messages, and demonstrating a lack of interest in the lives and environment of those Londoners unfortunate enough to live in the proximity of territory being claimed by the company for its project. It is  naive to view the intentions of Thames Water without taking the massive profit motive into account as a prime motivation.

The reluctance to consider the Heckford Street option is possibly also rooted in financial realities. That site is currently designated “brown fields” – covered in warehousing-type constructions. However the leases on much of the site are due to come due shortly. The financial rewards for developers with be immense. To them, all-consuming greed is a virtue.
Tower Hamlets residents have already paid a high price for the greed of developers. The Council’s environmental concerns have only gained some semblence of concern and vision in the recent past. We need to give them every support in their opposition to this scheme.
 
However there are other, more commonplace concerns being trampled in the race to secure the riverside site.
They are best illustrated by the before and after drawings of the park submitted by Thames Water. These show the present park lanscaping and use, with its classical arrangements of paths and gardens, shade trees for picnicers, and areas designated for games, exercising pets, and secure playgrounds. Compare this amenity with the future appearance as envisioned by Thames Water. Concrete, trees stuck in holes without any sensitive evolution of planting, a foreshore promenade with few, if any, distinctive characteristics.
KEMP brings the sensitivity of village life to the people of Wapping. This is an area where class, wealth and priviledge are irrelevant. When I first visited the park, I was struck by the close resemblance to the famous painting by Georges Seurat “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jette”.
 
One art historian noted:

“Seurat spent two years painting this picture, concentrating painstakingly on the landscape of the park before focusing on the people…The park was quite a noisy place: a man blows his bugle, children run around, there are dogs. Yet the impression we receive is of silence, of control, of nothing disordered. I think it is this that makes La Grande Jatte so moving to us who live in such a disordered world…There is an intellectual clarity here that sets him free to paint this small park with an astonishing poetry. Even if the people in the park are pairs or groups, they still seem alone in their concision of form – alone but not lonely. No figure encroaches on another’s space: all coexist in peace.”This is a world both real and unreal – a sacred world. We are often harried by life’s pressures and its speed, and many of us think at times: Stop the world, I want to get off! In this painting, Seurat has “stopped the world,” and it reveals itself as beautiful, sunlit, and silent.”

And that, in a nutshell is precisely what we will lose, if Thames Water proceeds with the destruction of this site. By my amateur calculations, and reading the available documentation – it will be more than a decade if ever, before the KEMP replacement resembles a fertile, growing and evolving garden again.
Even then, the site and the homes around it will be blighted, and the high rise homes of New Heckford will look down on a concrete monument to the avarice of Thames Water moneymen. “

Prominent community activist and Respect Party Member Mahbub Mamum Alam supports Save KEMP

Mahbub Mamum Alam

“The proposed tunnel build will destroy this beautiful heritage space. It will cause disruption and chaos.

In light of the opposition from residents I hope that Thames Water will reconsider their decision to build. The KEMP is a pillar of our community and its existence is a celebration of our multiculturalism. People from all walks of life gather here to relax and appreciate each others company.

To attempt to strip such a great thing from the community is totally unjustified.”

 

Canon Michael Ainsworth, Rector of St George-in-the-East-End Anglican Church supports Save KEMP

Canon Michael Ainsworth

“St George-in-the-East Church has a special concern for our local parks, since its former churchyard was the first ever to be turned into a public garden, in January 1877, in recognition of the need of over-crowded East Enders for access to green space.

That need is just as great today, and King Edward VII Memorial Park, with its added bonus of a riverside location, is a much-loved and much-used facility, linking us not only with our past history (both collective and personal – families have scattered ashes here, and provided memorial benches) but with our present and future need for high-quality shared space for the whole community.

The proposals compromise this, both in the short and long term, and we endorse the campaign to resist them. The sewage tunnel is necessary, but there are other ways of handling it.”

Cllr Peter Golds supports Save KEMP

Councillor Peter Golds

“Thames Water’s preferred route involves constructing a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) on the river foreshore in front of the King Edward Memorial Park. The park opens onto the Thames Path and river, and is a vital resource for local residents.

Most local families have no access to a private garden so they rely on the park for outdoor space and the physical wellbeing of their children.

This park is also of great historical importance, as it was opened in 1922 by King George V and has been one of the much loved open spaces of the borough, enjoyed by residents for nearly 90 years. [...] These plans are simply not acceptable to us or to local residents.”

East End born Golfing Champion Simon Khan supports Save KEMP

Golfer Simon Khan

Simon has met SaveKEMP campaigners at the Orchid Golf Event for children organised at King Edward VII Memorial Park on Friday 20 May. After signing the petition to stop Thames Water from turning the historic park into a site for sewerage works, the current European PGA Champion added:

“As a father and as someone who grew up in the East End I understand the importance of the few parks left in the area. They are vital not just for children but for the entire community. They must be protected and preserved.”

Cllr. Joshua Peck, Leader, Tower Hamlets Labour Councillors, supports Save KEMP

Josh Peck“After all the hard work the SaveKEMP campaign has put into the alternative Heckford Street proposal, I’m deeply disappointed that Thames Water is not giving this option a level playing field in the consultation. Open space is at a premium in our crowded borough.

Taking out as much of the park as Thames Water proposes for so many years would greatly disadvantage local people.

I hope residents will make their views absolutely clear to Thames Water in this consultation period.” 

Stepney-born singer Kenny Lynch supports Save KEMP

Kenny Lynch

“Please save our Park, it is important to all of us. My love and gratitude to all those involved in the campaign to save Shaddy Park. ”

Cllr Emma Jones, Conservative for St Katherine’s and Wapping supports Save KEMP

“I support the campaign to save the King Edward Memorial Park.  Our open space is immensely important and we need to protect this well-loved park.  We ask Thames Water to use more appropriate brownfield sites which they have already identified.”

Cllr Emma Jones, Conservative for St Katherine’s and Wapping, supports Save KEMP

Councillor Emma Jones

“I support the campaign to save the King Edward Memorial Park.

Our open space is immensely important and we need to protect this well-loved park.

We ask Thames Water to use more appropriate brownfield sites which they have already identified.”

 

Councillor Rachael Saunders, Labour for Mile End East supports Save KEMP

Councillor Rachael Saunders

“I support the campaign to keep the King Edward park for local people and call on Thames Water to reconsider their plans.”

 

 

 

 

Councillor Rabina Khan, Independent for Shadwell and Cabinet Member for Housing, supports Save KEMP

Councillor Rabina Khan

“I support SaveKEMP and oppose Thames Water’s plans for the park and its foreshore.”

 

 

 

 

Actress Anita Dobson has signed the SaveKEMP petition and  supports Save KEMP

Anita Dobson

“I support the campaign and wish them every success.”

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Dickson Head Teacher of St Peter’s School, Wapping, supports Save KEMP

“King Edward Memorial Park or (Shadwell Park as our children call it), is vital to the health and wellbeing of the children in our school.

Most of the children at St Peter’s live in flats and the park is the only nearby green space for them to use. The school uses the park for Sports Day and football training at weekends. We also take our younger children for the annual Teddy Bears picnic in summer. In addition, much of our curriculum is supported by using the park; from tree surveys to sketching.

This park is situated in one of the most deprived parts of Tower Hamlets, where child poverty is appallingly high.

To lose any part of it would be a huge loss to the community. I, and the pupils of this school wholeheartedly support the campaign to save this park.”

Note: Save KEMP has worked with St Peter’s to teach the kids the importance of community matters and environmental issues. We held a series of workshops for Year 5 that culminated in a brilliant assembly during which the kids presented their work to the whole school.

Terry Bennett, Headteacher of St Paul’s Whitechapel Primary School supports Save KEMP

“What a dreadful shame it would be if the community lost the use of this lovely park; there are already too few green spaces in this area.

King Edward VII Memorial Park is almost unique with a section of Thames Pathway offering panoramic views across the river and in having appeal for young and old alike.

The plan to close areas of the park for up to seven years and to build a combined sewerage overflow there is nothing short of commercial vandalism.”

Local resident Professor Chris Scull supports Save KEMP

“King Edward  VII Memorial park, is historically important as a local municipal monument and recreational amenity. It forms part of the Wapping Wall Conservation Area, lies within an Area of Archaeological Importance, and contributes to LBTH’s Biodiversity Action Plan.

It is a priceless community asset in a Borough which is not generously-endowed with open green space, and has a wider importance as a link in the Thames-side footpath and as a significant element contributing to the character of the historic river front between the Tower of London World Heritage Site and the Isle of Dogs.

To press ahead with this scheme, when there are viable Brownfield alternatives, would appear to contravene all principles of sound planning and conservation. Thames Water must think again.”

Rev. Phil Warburton pastor at E1 Community Church supports Save KEMP

“The Trustees of E1 Community Church give our support to the Save Kemp campaign. 99% of our church members use and value the park.  It is crucial that Thames Water listen to the concerns of us local people who value the park as one of the few open spaces in the area.  First: Thames Water must give full consideration to alternative development sites.  Second: If unfortunately the current plans go ahead any works  must minimize the disruption to the smooth running of the park.  Overall we are concerned that proper consideration is given to local people’s views.  Listening is not enough! Thames Water has a legal duty to consult and moral duty to do its best for it’s East End customers.”