Community news and investigative journalism for Wapping E1W and Tower Hamlets London

Turks Head Charity ‘planning weekend’ for KEMP exposed

A few days ago LW reported on an attempt by John Aldenton of local Wapping charity the Turks Head Company to rename King Edward Memorial Park ‘Shadwell Park’ and more than a few people were upset by this. Mayor Biggs states that there are no plans within the Council to rename the park.

As a result the Wapping Mole and local residents has been doing some digging and it seems that the ‘planning weekend’ taking place this weekend is not quite what the Turks Head Company claims it is.

Update: The event takes place at Shadwell Basin Outdoor Activity Centre 3-4 Shadwell Pierhead, Glamis Road, London E1W 3TD – just over the bridge where the boats are. 

No connection with nuffink

Because the planning weekend has no connection with Tower Hamlets Council, no connection with Thames Tideway and no connection with the King Edward Memorial Park foreshore Community Liaison Working Group (KEMPF CLWG).

It seems that this weekend’s planning event only has a connection with the Turks Head Company.

But this is not what their leaflet says (anyone actually received theirs yet?).

The Tideway CLWG is clearly referenced on the front page of the leaflet as shown below underlined by us in red:

Part of front page of leaflet distributed by Turks Head Company.

It clearly states that “The Tideway Community Liaison Working Group, drawn from local residents and organisations, was set up to monitor the work. Now, it’s bringing together a team of volunteer professionals to work for the community…” and then goes on to state that “The team will include designers working for the Council and Thames Tideway.”

The truth is that this event has no connection with the Tideway Community Liaison Working Group and it will not include designers working for the Council and Thames Tideway. Some council employees will attend as observers but they will take no active part in the proceedings.

It is also unclear who the ‘volunteer professionals’ are and who asked them to attend. Anyone know?

John Aldenton

On the reverse of the leaflet the Turks Head Company states that at “On tap, designers, engineers, cost consultants, people with local knowledge” on Saturday at 11.30 and on Sunday at 11.00 there will be a “Review [of the] Community Liaison Working Group and design team”

Again this is untrue.

The KEMP Community Liaison Working Group has no official connection with this event whatsoever. None.

So why is Mr. Aldenton claiming that it has? Yes Mr. Aldenton is Chair of the Tideway CLWG as well as running the Turks Head Company and has also obtained planning consent for the Wapping Lido just over the road from King Edward Memorial Park.

Because this event is being organised by the Turks Head Company for the Turks Head Company. Nobody else.

Rear of leaflet – red underlined LW emphasis

This is not clear however because nowhere on the leaflet is there an imprint stating which organisation is either organising the event or who is responsible for publishing the leaflet.

Despite the references to the Tideway CLWG and Tower Hamlets Council and Thames Tideway nowhere on the leaflet is the Turks Head Company mentioned, the only reference to the Turks Head Company is in the email address provided at the bottom which is in itself confusing as it is for turksheadcharity@gmail.com. Because the Turks Head Company is in fact the Turks Head Charity. (No, we don’t know why either.)

So the organisations which are not involved with the planning weekend are clearly mentioned but the Turks Head Company which is what this event is all about is not.

It could be argued that the contents of the leaflet are at best incorrect and at worst an attempt to deceive local residents into believing that the Turks Head Company planning weekend has a lot more legitimacy than it has.

Over the last week LW has twice emailed the Turks Head Company asking for their comments on the issues of leaflet distribution and the motive for renaming the park but we have not received a reply at the time of publication. We have also asked the Turks Head Company for their response to the information above. When we get it we will publish it.

Update 10:33 13th October.

Response from John Aldenton to our questions is here. Mr. Aldenton says that “The event has been organised for the Community Liaison Working Group as stated on the leaflet.”

So…. in overview.

Tower Hamlets Council – nothing to do with us

  • The event this coming weekend is organised by the Turk’s Head Charity and is nothing to do with the council.
  • No council staff or contractors have been involved in planning the event.
  • No designers working for the council are attending as representatives of the council. Some staff may attend but purely as observers.
  • Mayor Biggs states that there are no plans within the Council to rename the park.

(Please see full text of email from Judith St. John, Divisional Director for Sports, Leisure and Culture Tower Hamlets below.)

Tideway – nothing to do with us

Tideway Thames has had nothing to do with the suggestion by John Aldenton to rename King Edward Memorial Park as ‘Shadwell Park’.

Tideway will continue to call the park the King Edward Memorial Park.

Tideway also have no involvement with the planning event this weekend, it is being run by the Turks Head Company alone and no other organisation.

Tideway will not be present at the event.

And nothing to do with the KEMP liaison group

Although John Aldenton and other Turks Head Company employees are involved with the CLWG, primarily Mr. Aldenton as its chairperson, the event has not been organised by King Edward Memorial Park Foreshore Community Liaison Working Group (KEMPF CLWG).

Email from Judith St. John, Divisional Director for Sports, Leisure and Culture Tower Hamlets Council to Wapping resident.

“You have raised a number of important points in your email to the Mayor which I will attempt to address.

The event this coming weekend organised by the Turk’s Head Charity is nothing to do with the council.

It has been entirely organised by some people who attend the Tideway-organised Community Liaison Working Group and could not be said to be organised by that group.

Our staff and contractors have not been involved in planning this event.

No designers working for the council are attending as representatives of the council.

We do plan to attend some of the sessions since we are naturally interested in the attendance and the views of those who attend. However, this is purely as observers.

The Council has already run an extensive consultation process on the master plan overview and we are now planning to carry out further consultation during the detailed design stage to take place over the coming months.

As Mayor Biggs has said in his response to you, there are no plans within the council to rename the park.

You have also expressed concern that funds earmarked for landscaping works have been used to carry out investigations into commercial ventures.

One of the pieces of feedback from local residents that came early on (prior to the master plan process) was a demand for public toilets and an ancillary desire for a café.

In the current financial climate, the only way in which toilets could be provided on a site of this type is if the toilets are associated with a commercial operation, and run by the commercial operator.

Consequently, in agreement with the Tideway-LBTH Joint Master Plan Steering Group, it was determined that part of the master planning process should explore the feasibility of catering and associated toilets in or adjacent to KEMP.

In a completely independent process from the development of the Turk’s Head Lido proposal, the council wished to explore the viability of a café(s) with or without an adjacent swimming attraction.

Consequently, it was agreed with Tideway that the master plan work should include not only the business viability of a café, but also to look at viability and outline costs for a lido on Brussels Wharf.

There has never been any intention to use Tideway funding for a lido project, nor has any decision been made about whether the Turk’s Head Lido project, or a different lido project, or none at all will go forward.

Should the Council decide to move forward on a lido project, this will be an open process, separate from the implementation of the master plan’s landscaping works in KEMP, and subject to public consultation and scrutiny.”

LW Comment

We think our findings speak for themselves. You can speak for yourself by attending the Turks Head Company planning event in King Edward Memorial Park this weekend starting tomorrow Friday 13th until Sunday 15th inclusive.

See you there!

Many thanks to the numerous Wapping residents who helped with this news story.

“Rename King Edward VII Memorial Park? Whose idea is that may I ask?”

Look on the bright side – at least Her Majesty the Queen is not involved with the whole renaming our local park named after her favourite King thing.

Now that would be a real kerfuffle!





 

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