East Enders plan protest march on City Hall over Thames sewer shaft

FAMILIES have launched their second petition in East London’s battle to prevent a four-storey sewer ventilation tower being built on their doorstep.

The petition was started at a packed protest meeting at Shadwell’s Glamis community hall last night which is to be handed into Boris Johnson in a march on City Hall later this month.

“Let them see a proper East End protest,” civil engineer Carl Dunsire (pictured), who is leading the campaign, told the 200 protesters.

“We have to show this is a solid fight by all East Enders, those born here and those moving here—that we are prepared to fight our corner.”

They are fighting Thames Water proposals to build a massive concrete promontory on the river foreshore in front of Shadwell’s King George Memorial Park, just a mile east of the Tower of London, with the 40ft-high ventilation shaft and a filtering plant next to it.

Hundreds plan to gather at 9am on March 16 at Thames Gateway DLR station to march across Tower Bridge to City Hall, where London Assembly budget chairman John Biggs, East London’s GLA representative who was at last night’s protest, plans to hand the new petition in to the Mayor.

The campaigners have already sent Thames Water a 3,000-name petition objecting to proposals they fear will permanently destroy the only riverfront open space for miles, in the East End’s most-crowded district between Wapping and Limehouse.

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A mass signing of this latest petition, which calls on Boris Johnson to prevent the ventilation tower going ahead, is also planned after Friday prayers at the East London Mosque in Whitechapel at 1.30pm tomorrow.

The protest movement now has total cross-party support on Tower Hamlets council, local councillor Stephanie Eaton told last night’s meeting. She is on the London Waterways Commission which advises Boris on issues about rivers and canals and has invited the campaigners to a face-to-face meeting with Thames Water at the Town Hall later this month.

The ventilation tower is part of Thames Water’s ‘super sewer’ project running under the river for 17 miles from Chelsea to East London’s Abbey Mills pumping station, relieving the capital’s ageing Victorian network which regularly overflows during heavy rainfalls.

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