Thames Water pledge not to use Shadwell Park for ‘super sewer’ construction

Families campaigning to prevent Shadwell Park being turned into a seven-year construction site for London’s new ‘super sewer’ have won the first round in their battle.

Thames Water has agreed to find an alternative ‘brownfield’ site instead of using East London’s King Edward Memorial Park. It is looking at a trading estate nearby, rather than the park itself.

But the plans still look like going ahead for a 45ft-high ventilation shaft on the riverbank in front of the park a mile east of Tower Bridge, which would leave a permanent ‘legacy’ campaigners say would spoil the area.

“Ultimately we want to save the park,” campaign vice-chair Emma Dunsire told the East London Advertiser. “We need the foreshore option to be dropped altogether, including the ventilation shaft that would damage the environment.”

An access road would still intrude into the park, they calculate, with 100 mature trees being felled, losing a football pitch, children’s playground, memorial benches and a bandstand. It would also cut through the riverside wildflower meadow where the rare stag beetle breeds, which campaigners argued is vital to maintain biodiversity along the Thames.

The ‘super sewer’ is planned under the riverbed from Brentford to the Isle of Dogs to relieve London’s ageing Victorian system that now regularly spills into the Thames.