Plan to remove ‘King Edward Memorial Park’ from the map.

A proposal by local charity the Turks Head Company to rename King Edward Memorial Park as ‘Shadwell Park’ has emerged ahead of a ‘planning weekend’ organised by John Aldenton’s charity on 13th, 14th and 15th October. The event takes place at Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre 3-4 Shadwell Pierhead, Glamis Road, London E1W 3TD.

As residents know King Edward Memorial Park was opened in 1922 by King George V and Queen Mary with the following dedication: “In grateful memory of King Edward VII. This park is dedicated to the use and enjoyment of the people of East London for ever.”

“King Edward Memorial Park could be anywhere”

Mr Aldenton first proposed the name change at a meeting of the Tideway Tunnel residents liaison group on 6th September. Screen grab from the minutes below, original minutes here. (PDF)

The minutes state that ‘JA’ (Mr Aldenton) ‘complained that Tideway refers to this site as King Edward Memorial Park. To local people, this is Shadwell Park, whereas King Edward Memorial Park could be anywhere. He would like to see the site rebadged as Shadwell Park.’

Despite being advised that King Edward Memorial Park was known to the Council as, you guessed it, King Edward Memorial Park, the Turks Head Company has now published a leaflet headed ‘A bright future for Shadwell Park’ which only further down refers to ‘…also known as King Edward Memorial Park’.

Some residents do call the park ‘Shaddy Park’, some call it ‘King Edward Park’, others just ‘the park’. Fact remains that on the map it is King Edward Memorial Park.

Map of Shadwell Basin and King Edward Memorial Park (click to enlarge)

What twitterers twittered

Here are some of the comments from Twitter about the issue in the last 24 hours:

“As one of the parties in the SaveKEMP campaign we would take issue with Mr Aldenton’s suggestion to change the name of this heritage asset” FOSKD @OfficialFOSKD

“I always think of Shadwell as being North of the Highway. King Edward…. is fine by me.” WappingResident @leslie_brook

“The King Edward VII Memorial Park opened in 1922 and is a major part of the heritage of this area of the East End, no name change required” FOSKD @OfficialFOSKD

“shadwell park??” John @flyovermoon

“shadwell park, ridicolous!” John  @flyovermoon

“Although the park is called KEMP original Wapping folk always called it Shadwell Park ask an old Wappingite no name change” Hilary Irving @IrvingHilary

“I saw this and was wondering where Shadwell Park was! Thx for clearing up! ”Jen Craft @Jenolivereh

A bright future for… where?

As previously reported by LW the recently approved planning application for the Wapping Lido project has two applicants, John Aldenton of the Turks Head Company and Mike Wardle of the Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre. The KEMP foreshore Community Liaison Working Group is now chaired by either John Aldenton or Mike Wardle in rotation. Meeting minutes are taken by a Turks Head Company staff member.

Front of Turks Head Company flyer for planning weekend.
Front of Turks Head Company flyer for planning weekend.

KEMP foreshore Community Liaison Working Group attendees

Looking at the attendees at the last minuted KEMP foreshore Community Liaison Working Group meeting it is good to see so many residents from Free Trade Wharf attending. Here’s everyone who attended (thanks to all) to give an idea of the balance of representation.

Tideway Project Staff

  • Jeff Alchin (JAl) – Project Manager, Tideway
  • Adam Cockayne (AC) – Environmental Advisor, CVB
  • Martin Griffiths (MG) – Senior Community Relations Manager, CVB
  • Charlie Louet (CLo) – Project Manager, CVB
  • Catherine Loveridge (CL) – Senior Project Manager, Tideway
  • Allen Summerskill (AS) – Stakeholder and Consents Manager, Tideway
  • Mark Walker (MWa) – Administrative Support, Tideway

Residents / Organisations

  • Jon Aldenton – Turk’s Head Charity
  • Bob Bennett – London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • Amanda Day – Local Resident / Turk’s Head Charity
  • Alison Dickins – London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • Geoff Hazeldine Resident – Free Trade Wharf
  • Peter McLean Resident – Free Trade Wharf
  • Fiona McNish -Local resident
  • Claire Troughton
  • Resident – Free Trade Wharf
  • Mr Choudhary – Local resident


Rear of Turks Head Company flyer for planning weekend.

The leaflet states that ‘The Tideway Community Liaison Working Group, drawn from local residents and organisations, was set up to monitor the [Thames Tideway] work. Now it is bringing together a team of volunteer professionals to work for the community over an intensive weekend to produce a scheme that we can use and enjoy for years to come. The team will include designers working for the Council and Thames Tideway’.

You can download the Turks Head Charity Planning Weekend Flyer (PDF) here.

However a slightly different phrasing is used on the Turks Head Charity website: “The Community Liaison Working Group which meets with Tideway bi-monthly believes that the scheme Tower Hamlets has devised could be greatly improved with more input from local residents in what they want for their park. To do this the working group is running an intensive planning weekend and has invited designers, landscape architects and cost consultants, people from the council and Tideway to come together and produce a scheme that is the most fitting for this unique riverside park.”

While the published leaflet as reproduced uses neutral phrasing to describe the purpose of the planning weekend the Turks Head Company web page proposes that the existing Tower Hamlets Council scheme (aka the Master plan) is not up to scratch.

Whose opinion is this? Presumably that of the KEMP foreshore Community Liaison Working Group.

Map of King Edward Memorial Park from Master plan document

Have you received your leaflet?

Although LW first saw the leaflet announcing this ‘planning weekend’ on September 19th it is only after several weeks have passed that the leaflets themselves have started to appear in public.

The Turks Head Company states that a leaflet was supposed to go to every household in Wapping and Shadwell, delivered by Royal Mail, but they are not sure if they have arrived despite the Turks Head Company website stating that ‘A leaflet should reach every address in Shadwell and Wapping by the first week of October with all the details.’

We have asked Turks Head Company how many leaflets Royal Mail are distributing and it will good to be able to check how many leaflets reach residents, so if you do get or see a leaflet anywhere please let LW know.

To date we have only seen the photo of the leaflet sent to us via social media a few weeks back and copies in the Turks Head Cafe and some local shops in Wapping. But then we don’t get out much.

If you look at the schedule on the reverse of the leaflet it seems the plan is for local residents to take part in various activities next Friday (13th) and Saturday (14th) and then on Sunday (15th) there will be a review by the KEMP Community Liaison Working Group (CLWG) and design team at 11am, a preparation of an outline scheme between 1pm and 4pm where the CWLG and design team will ‘report back to everyone and presentation’.

£3.1m s106 money

One issue that might be mentioned at the planning weekend is the precise allocation of the £3,100,000 s106 money from Thames Tideway.

To quote from the Masterplan (Section 2.0 Introduction, p9)

“The masterplan is a blueprint for improvements to be delivered as part of the Section 106 (s106) agreement in relation to the Thames Tideway Tunnel (Tideway) works in the Park. The s106 is a £3.1 million contribution to implement the masterplan, with additional sums for the masterplan design process and to improve several local open spaces, including Shadwell Basin and Glamis Road Adventure Playground, as part of the mitigation for the Tideway works in the Park.”

Note that Shadwell Basin and the Glamis Road Adventure Playground are specifically earmarked for s106 money – as they should be.

A question that might arise is that now that the Wapping Lido planning application has been approved would it be appropriate for some of the s106 cash to be allocated to the Lido?

Wapping Lido – artists impression.

Apparently the s106 fund allocation cannot be changed on a whim. For any money to be allocated to the Wapping Lido project – in contrast to Shadwell Basin in its entirety – Thames Tideway would need to be convinced that this is the wish of the community. It’s the law.

LW Comment

This little leaflet raises all sorts of questions. Here are a few.

  1. How many leaflets have been distributed and how many residents have received one? Why where the leaflets only published so near to the planning weekend? Are these leaflets published by the Turks Head Charity on its own account or by the Turks Head Charity on behalf of the KEMP foreshore Community Liaison Working Group or by the Turks Head Charity on behalf of someone else? This is unclear.
  2. What is the motivation for a local charity wishing to rename a park? Who benefits from this? What is the motivation? And have local residents been asked about this proposal?
  3. Just over £3,000,000 of s106 money has been given by Thames Tideway for the benefit of the community and specifically for the improvement of King Edward Memorial Park. It may not be considered best practise for a group created with the sole purpose of representing the wishes of local residents to be chaired by two people who have an interest in a commercial project adjacent to the park. There is no implication of any wrong doing by any individual or organisation involved but with the recent history of Tower Hamlets it might be best to ensure that any future work of the KEMP foreshore Community Liaison Working Group be carried out in a completely transparent and open manner to ensure that there is not even the perception of a potential conflict of interests by those who chair it.
  4. It is unclear what role, if any, Tower Hamlets Council has in the current activities surrounding King Edward Memorial Park, the Wapping Lido project and the KEMP Masterplan. Has the Council delegated responsibility for the park to the Turks Head Company? This seems unlikely as KEMP is owned by Tower Hamlets Council but to many residents the Council’s involvement is at best obscure.
  5. The concluding day of the imminent ‘planning weekend’ on 13th, 14th and 15th October has a very precise schedule. It starts at with a review at 11am by the CWLG and the design team, the preparation of an outline scheme from 1pm and at 4pm the presentation of results. Fast work. Why is this being done in five hours?
  6. LW makes no secret of our dislike for the Thames Water supersewer work which is trashing King Edward Memorial Park. It stinks. This is being done for the wrong reasons in the wrong way for the benefit of a large corporate. Residents suffer as usual. LW has also actively objected to the planning application for the Wapping Lido. Our view – and it is only a personal view as we represent no-one – is that there is no need for an open-air swimming pool in Shadwell Basin. There is a need for Shadwell Basin to be looked after properly.
  7. Bottom line is that King Edward Memorial Park belongs to nobody but the people of the east end of London. In 1922 it was dedicated for the ‘use and enjoyment of the people of East London for ever.’ Not until such time as commercial interests decide to use it to bolster shareholders profits. Not until Tower Hamlets Council lost interest in it. Not until it might be useful for others to do things with. It is for ordinary residents for ever and that’s it.
  8. Whatever your views please do come along to the planning weekend on the 13th, 14th and 15th October. It might be fun!

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