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Inspectors to look at alternative site for Thames Tideway tunnel construction

PUBLISHED: 19:38 29 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:09 31 July 2013

Mock sewer ventilation shaft erected by protesters at Shadwell showing what it wouled be like

Mock sewer ventilation shaft erected by protesters at Shadwell showing what it wouled be like

© 2011 Mark Baynes

An alternative to using open parkland on the Thames riverfront as a construction site for London’s ‘super sewer’ project is to be officially considered at a Planning public hearing.

Government inspectors have decided to include the alternative to Thames Water’s insistence that Shadwell’s King Edward Memorial Park has to be used as a construction site for several years.

Using the park would leave a permanent 26ft sewer ventilation shaft on the riverfront, as protesters showed last month when they erected a mock shaft.

Now inspectors will consider a suggestion put forward by campaigners fighting to save the park who propose, instead, using an industrial estate of old warehouses a-quarter-of-a-mile away in Heckford Street, off The Highway.

The idea is to be included in the Planning Inspectorate’s first-round public hearing taking evidence from community groups across London, the campaigners were told at the weekend.

“This is a coup for common sense,” said Carl Dunsire, from the Save King Edward Memorial Park group.

“Thames Water always said once they’ve chosen park, that’s it—but now the Inspectorate is to review our option.

“We’re now in with a chance—we have a level playing field with Thames Water.”

The Shadwell Park group received notice that the alternative Heckford Street site they put forward will be considered as an alternative at the preliminary public hearing at The Barbican on September 12.

The battle to save the Mermorial Park, which had been given to the people of east London in perpetuity by King Edward VII, started three years ago when plans were revealed for the 17-mile Thames Tideway sewer running under the riverbed from Brentford to the Isle of Dogs.

But using Heckford Street is the other side of The Highway from the parkland foreshore proposal, which means Thames Water won’t be able to remove the excavated soil by river barge. It would all have to go by road.

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