Help make Tower Hamlets a great place to live, work and play.
The foreshores of the tidal Thames are among London’s most precious and unique spaces. As ancient access points fall into disrepair or ‘disappear’ through neglect and abandonment, access to the foreshore is becoming increasingly challenging. Wayfinding to the functioning steps is generally poor or non-existent which further inhibits opportunities to enjoy this remarkable space. There is a history of recreational use of the foreshore. The Tower of London’s ‘Children’s Beach’ was, for decades, a hugely popular space for Londoners. Opened in 1934 by King George V, the beach closed in 1971 due to fears of water contamination. Although the river is cleaner now, the beach has never reopened and foreshore access has generally become more restricted. Securing access through restoration of the historic stairs, will create a truly democratic shared space, to be enjoyed by the local community, and will enable all Londoners to access their river and explore its foreshore.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Increasing privatisation of London’s public spaces is threatening the rights of Londoners to fully engage with and benefit from the natural and physical resources of London. The Thames foreshore is a major public open resource that deserves to be better celebrated and cherished. However, restrictions on rights of way and the neglect of river stairs is eroding our ability to access the foreshore. The objective of improving and protecting foreshore access will not only to celebrate London’s heritage, but will allow Londoners to reconnect with the ecology and life of their river and to experience nature in an unexpected and enduring way. In recognising the unique aesthetic and recreational qualities of our tidal river, Wapping River Stairs Project will be at the forefront of preventing further destruction of the access to these spaces. The project will pioneer the way forward for other foreshore spaces to be regenerated and made publicly accessible along the tidal Thames.
Steps to get it done:
As an area Wapping, is somewhat polarised in socio-economic and geographic terms, with a bit of the ‘rich by the river and the poor inland’ syndrome, and many residents have limited access to open-space. Wapping River Stairs Project is a community focused urban regeneration project that aims to increase public appreciation of London’s principle river. We believe community-evolved solutions should be at the heart of urban planning. Collaboration, inclusiveness, and commitment to social and environmental sustainability will be at the heart of this project. The project will initially focus on the Wapping Dock river stairs which are next to Wapping Overground station. Thames Path deviates from the riverfront along this stretch and in many places gated communities have effectively cut off river access, conveying an atmosphere of fortification and exclusion. Restoration of the access stairs and improved way finding will encourage people to rediscover and reclaim their river foreshore.
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