Thames Tideway Tunnel

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Thames Tideway Tunnel

Received 17 April 2013
From George S Baldwin


I must take issue in the strongest possible terms with Thames Water choosing King Edward Memorial Park (KEMP) as its chosen local access point for this project.

KEMP is the only sizeable, cultivated green space in the area. It is the only green space between Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf and so provides a large number of local residents with direct access to the Thames, and associated respite from traffic noise and pollution. The sports facilities, children's playground and lawns create a vital meeting place for local residents from different cultures and communities, and its loss for the three-plus years of construction would be felt by a large and vocal community who live in an area with extremely limited access to greenery compared to other parts of London. Locals' collective love for the part has been demonstrated repeatedly, not least by winning a popular vote for the Queen Elizabeth II Green Fields Challenge, winning more votes than any other green space in the UK.

If there were no logical alternative, I would not lodge an objection to the use of KEMP. But a cost-effective, viable alternative does exist, yards away, by way of an industrial estate on Heckford Street diagonally opposite. In using this brownfield site in place of the KEMP's greenfield site, the relocation of these few warehouse businesses would have a much more limited impact on the community's health, fitness, wellbeing and enjoyment of their neighbourhood than the use of KEMP for the same purpose, but, despite the continued petitions of local residents, Thames Water has refused to propose this alternative site. With over 10,500 signatures listed on a petition to this effect, and over 1,450 objections lodged during the consultation, the weight of local opinion on this issue must not be ignored any longer.

Please note that I live immediately opposite Heckford Street, nearer to it than KEMP in fact. I also travel regularly by car on the Highway. I am therefore better placed than most to state unequivocally that I would welcome any increase in noise and congestion resulting from the choice of Heckford Street for the construction site rather than KEMP, though I suspect any difference would ultimately be marginal (Thames Water have at last, after much petitioning, admitted themselves that the relative impact on traffic (and thus noise) of the two options is broadly identical, ceteris paribus). The benefit to the local population in continued and uninterrupted access to the only green space in the local area, however, cannot be disputed.