News

Phase 2 Campaign

SAVE KING’S STAIRS GARDENS – Phase 2 of our campaign starts here!

NEW HOPE – AND A BIG NEW THREAT!


A lot has been happening recently with Thames Water’s ‘Super Sewer’ project, and while there have been some positive developments, we’re still a long way from saving our park.

Thames Water has just announced (http://bit.ly/twplan) that they’re looking at a new alternative for connecting the combined sewer overflow (CSO) at Greenwich with the main super-sewer tunnel under Bermondsey/Rotherhithe. Instead of tunnelling from here to Greenwich, they think they might be able to tunnel from their own Greenwich Pumping Station, excavating the shaft for the tunnelling machine and removing all the spoil from there.

Also, after the Phase I consultation earlier this year, they proposed an alternative to digging up the Druid Street playground to connect the Shad Thames CSO to this area, simply by making alterations to the CSO itself at the Shad Thames Pumping Station.

That all sounds great. As well as saving Druid Street, it would mean little or no works would be needed at King’s Stairs Gardens or any other local site. That’s what they imply on their website. Fantastic! Or is it?

We’ve now discovered that one of the reasons behind these proposed changes is that they are looking at clearing the decks to carry out even bigger, more devastating works in Bermondsey/Rotherhithe! By removing the need to drive connections to the CSOs from here, they’re also looking at excavating the main ‘Super Sewer’ tunnel in this area.

Originally their plan was to excavate this from their large Abbey Mills Pumping Station in Stratford, and remove all the spoil from there. Now they are considering digging this huge tunnel from here! Whether they decide to do this at King’s Stairs Gardens, Chambers Wharf or any other site in Southwark that means even bigger works, even more spoil and even greater disruption affecting all of us.

While we can hope that the plans for Greenwich and Druid Street might work to our advantage, as things stand it looks like we face a new, and perhaps bigger, threat.

WE MUST FIGHT THIS!

We may think we are winning the battle but the war isn't over.

King's Stairs Gardens is still Thames Water's preferred site for its ‘Super Sewer’ work.

And whatever happens, the company says it won't remove the park from its list of options until it submits its planning application – in 2012!

That means funding to improve the park has been held back, its important heritage and nature values remain under threat – and people's lives will be on hold for at least another year.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO?

We attach a draft email/letter calling for Thames Water to remove King's Stairs Gardens from its list of sites for its Phase 2 consultation in September.

We call on as many people as possible to send this (or a version in their own words) to Thames Water, Ofwat, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, Simon Hughes MP, Mayor Boris Johnson, GLA members, Southwark Council and our local councillors.

Please send or email this letter, or your version of it, as soon as possible – the more people who do so, the more they will have to listen. Please also pass it on to as many people as you can, and encourage them to write as well (and please remind them to sign our petition if they haven’t done so already – http://bit.ly/nosewerhere).

THE LAW MIGHT HELP US

Remember: Thames Water's refusal to remove us from its list is not only unfair, particularly as the park should not have been put forward as the preferred site in September 2010, it also goes against the government's latest moves to protect green spaces.

The Natural Environment white paper – scheduled to become law next spring – aims to enable local communities to earmark green space for special consideration, whether its value lies in its natural beauty, history, recreational value, tranquillity or its importance as a wildlife habitat. The environment department, Defra, are consulting on proposals for a new Green Areas Designation that will give local people an opportunity to protect green spaces important to their local communities.

We gave evidence to both these consultations.

King's Stairs Gardens has value in all of these areas.

This should put even more pressure on Thames Water to drop King's Stairs Gardens from its list of options. But even though protection for spaces like King’s Stairs Gardens is likely to be law well before Thames Water starts tunnelling – and even though our park is now part of a conservation area, its trees are subject to Tree Preservation Orders and its high nature conservation value has been reconfirmed – they still won’t let go!

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH - IT'S UP TO US TO FORCE THEM TO LET GO!

The Mayor of London, our MP, GLA members, Southwark Council, all our local councillors, environmental and community groups, our local paper and thousands of members of the public have all said that KSG is unsuitable for Thames Water’s planned construction works.

But what is a consultation if the consultees are not listened to?

We are again asking them – and you – for support in this latest phase of our campaign. Some people think that King’s Stairs Gardens is already saved – please tell them that’s not so. Thames Water is still spending money (money that comes from your water bills) on investigations into King’s Stairs Gardens, including park usage surveys and drilling boreholes in the river bed. They obviously still think our unique riverside park is a very real option for their construction work.

Our park is NOT safe yet – we must, all of us, keep up the fight!

Draft Email and Letter