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Shadwell residents are furious that the King Edward Memorial park will be ruined if Thames Water has its way.
Thames Water, the privatised supplier of water and sewerage services to London, has proposed the construction of a “super” sewer across the park culminating in two enormous towers which are to allow the noxious gases to escape.
The proposals mean digging up the park and laying a huge pipe through it which will then be concreted over. The towers will not only emit gases, they will block the view down to the river.
Tower Hamlets already has far less green space than many other boroughs. The proposals from Thames Water would clearly have a very detrimental effect on the use of the park and its aesthetic qualities.
However residents are not going to allow Thames Water to ride roughshod over their park without a big fight. Already over 4,000 signatures have been collected on a petition opposing the plans and residents aim to have up to 10,000 signatures by the end of the month. A letter signed by residents opposing the plans was also handed in to Boris Johnson's office at City Hall by a delegation earlier this month.
The campaign is being led by Karl and Emma, two local residents, but Respect members have thrown themselves into the campaign wholeheartedly and there has been a terrific response from the mosques in the area.
Local resident and Respect candidate Mamun Alom said: “My kids play in this park as do many others. It’s a beautiful park and an essential asset in this overcrowded area where there is also such a high incidence of child poverty. The response from the local community has been tremendous.
Mamun continued: “Thames Water does not need to put the so-called “super” sewer in the park at all. There are alternative plans which would meet the need just as well and save the park from destruction. This has been confirmed by engineers who have worked on the project.”
Former Respect group leader and councillor Abjol Miah said: “We should remember what happened when Crossrail tried to put an enormous hole behind Brick Lane in the heart of Banglatown. The community campaign forced them to abandon this and suddenly discover a completely different way of constructing the tunnel which avoided the potentially disastrous disruption and despoliation of the area. The same kind of high profile campaign involving the community and embarrassing Thames Water and the politicians who have control over planning permission will be just as effective.”