Poirot and Bragg join appeal to open Lea River’s hidden Cody Dock

A grassroots project backed by media stars like David Suchet and Billy Bragg aims to regenerate a neglected dock on the Lea River which has been sealed off for decades.

Suchet, Detective Poirot to his TV fans, and Bragg are supporting an appeal to help rejuvenate Cody Dock at the former Bromley-by-Bow gasworks as a nature park and artist colony without a penny of government money.

Bragg’s grandfather worked in the dock when it serviced a thriving gasworks, before being closed in the early 1960s.

The charity behind the venture, Gasworks Dock Partnership, is raising money for the two-and-a-half acres scheme through a new crowd-funding website for community projects hit by the economic downturn. The public has so far pledged almost �57,000 on the Spacehive.com website.

The aim is to open the dock before the Olympics, but the funding deadline runs out in just a few weeks. Organisers need the remaining �83,000.

“Cody Dock has been a hidden secret for decades,” said former artist Simon Myers, brainchild behind the scheme. “We’ve got our hands on the most amazing space here.”

His vision includes building a swing bridge across the Lea to complete the final piece in a 26-mile riverside walk from Trinity Wharf lighthouse at Blackwall, through Bow and Hackney Marshes to Hertfordshire.

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Another backer is east London comedian Andi Osho, who grew up nearby. He said: “So much is being focussed on the Olympic zone that it’s easy to forget places like Cody Dock. But it hasn’t been forgotten and will become another jewel in east London’s pearly crown.”

Nearly �300m for London’s public space developments has been lost since the economic downturn, which the website hopes to correct.