Riverside park extension above new sewage structures given green light

Artist’s impression of King Edward Memorial Park by Weston Williamson + Partners

An artist’s impression of how the King Edward Memorial Park extension will look - Credit: Weston Williamson + Partners

A new riverside section of a park in Wapping has been given the green light as part of the Tideway super sewer project.

King Edward Memorial Park (KEMP) will be extended by 2,600 square metres, with the added land sitting on top of massive below-ground structures being built to help stop sewage overflowing into the Thames.

Proponents say the new space will increase the area of the park - next to Shadwell Basin - by around eight per cent and allow people to get closer to the river.

Tower Hamlets Council’s development committee has approved aspects of the design, which includes riverside terraces descending towards the water, a new public square and areas of planting to encourage new habitats and increase biodiversity.

Tideway project manager for the council Bob Bennett said: "The council has been working closely with Tideway for the last couple of years to achieve the best possible design for the park extension.

King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore in December 2021

An aerial photograph of the King Edward Memorial Park foreshore in December 2021 - Credit: Tideway

"In granting permission, the council is satisfied that design will both respect and complement the historic heritage of the park, and provide real benefits to the local community."

KEMP is the site of one of the most polluting overflows from the Victorian sewers into the Thames - currently spilling the equivalent of more than 300 Olympic sized swimming pools into the river each year.

Engineering works at the park divert the waste into the new super sewer tunnel as it passes 60m below, via a shaft some 20m in diameter, which on completion will be located beneath the park extension.

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The tunnel will then carry the sewage to Abbey Mills Pumping Station and onwards - via the Lee Tunnel - to the Beckton Sewage Treatment Works.

There it will be treated before being returned to the river.

Architecture and landscape lead for the east section of the Tideway project Annie Lennox said: “In gaining planning approval, the team has passed a crucial milestone.

“We now look forward to building a scheme that genuinely reconnects London with the River Thames.”

Construction of the super sewer, from west to east London, will create seven new areas of land along the Thames.

The project is due to be completed in 2025.