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Lawyer Dan gets on the case to reclaim the Thames foreshore for Londoners

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:03 08 May 2019

Petition to open up the Thames shoreline to the puiblic. Picture: Dan McCurry

Petition to open up the Thames shoreline to the puiblic. Picture: Dan McCurry

Dan McCurry

Lawyer Dan McCurry has taken on a tough new brief—to open up the Thames foreshore to the public.

Dead end... jogger at Wapping can get no further along the Thames Path because development is right up to the waterline. Picture: Dan McCurryDead end... jogger at Wapping can get no further along the Thames Path because development is right up to the waterline. Picture: Dan McCurry

He has started a petition and an online blog to get support for the idea to create a continuous waterfront path for pedestrians and cyclists.

The longest stretch without a path is along Wapping from Hermitage moorings to Shadwell Basin dock, as well as stretches along Limehouse and round the Isle of Dogs.

But the vicar's son has his work cut out as the Wapping waterfront is packed cheek by jowl with historic wharves, while most of the Isle of Dogs is dotted with Docklands luxury apartment blocks.

"The industrial economy has ended, but the recreational economy is yet to be developed," Dan points out.

"The longest stretch without a path is behind Wapping High Street. Maybe it would be better for this stretch to be developed as a marina in order to have a river walk—we could moor 100 yachts which would each bring in £7,500 a year."

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He envisages cafés and other recreations on the river itself, housed on pontoon piers and walkways where there is no room for a promenade on shore.

What campaigners want more of... public access to the Thames foreshore like this open promenade at Canary Wharf. Picture: Dan McCurryWhat campaigners want more of... public access to the Thames foreshore like this open promenade at Canary Wharf. Picture: Dan McCurry

But the idea isn't just through east London. The 53-year-old solicitor from Bow, who grew up in Stepney where his father Norrie McCurry was vicar at St Dunstan's, is aiming to get the whole Thames opened up across London.

"Both sides of the river should have access, right out to the estuary," he believes. "Focussing on the East End was just to start with, as it has the least access to the foreshore, but we hope to gather support elsewhere."

Dan teamed up with Tower Hamlets councillor Kyrsten Perry from the Isle of Dogs and with Poplar Harca housing organisation's chief executive Steve Stride to set up a steering group.

They held an open meeting at the Isle of Dogs last week to launch the petition and the Reclaim Our River campaign blog to spread the message across London.

It follows another petition reported in the East London Advertiser last month by animation artist Tim Allen to get a 500-yard stretch of towpath along the Lea River reopened, to create continuous access from Bow Creek at Leamouth all the way to the Olympic Park at Stratford.

Tim had recently moved into Leamouth's new City Island development and found he couldn't go further than half-a-mile along the Lea because the towpath was fenced off at an industrial estate.

His proposal to open the Leaway Path could link up at Leamouth with Dan's ambitious Thames project if both ideas succeed. You could then walk from Wapping to Stratford and on to Hertfordshire without having to cross a road, but would have to follow the loop in the Thames, of course.

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