Bidding starts for Lea River Park contract

The first phase of a new park that will transform parts of east London and connect the Olympic Park with the River Thames through a network of public spaces is to be completed by 2012.

Firms are now being invited to bid on the contract for the work, which is expected to start by the end of October this year and be worth almost £30m.

A vision for the Lea River Park has been created by design practice 5th Studio and includes six distinct pockets of parkland, the first of which will be completed in time for the start of the London Olympic Games.

The East India Dock Basin section of the park will be the first to go ahead and will draw on its trading history and traditions, said 5th Studio director Tom Holbrook.

"It is an amazing location so we see it as being a pleasure garden for London and a gateway to the rest of this park," Holbrook added.

"It is a nature reserve at the moment but is very underused and we would like to create a wild edge that really enhances the biodiversity. It would have a wilder back and a more active front."

Holbrook said the East India Dock Basin could provide facilities such as a lido, horse-riding facilitiies, cycle-hire shops and cafes.

A contract notice for provision of services that will take the design framework to a more detailed level and include construction was issued by the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation last week.

As well as the East India Dock Basin, the work will also include the creation of a parkland link called the Fatwalk, which joins each of the sections of green space, and may also include the creation of a mixed-use park at Three Mills Green, incorporating community landscaped gardens and sports pitches.

The future will see the creation of the rest of 5th Studio's vision, including the Exotic Wild ecology park and the Poplar River Park, designed to combine a local district park with an energy park showcasing innovative technologies in sustainable energy production.

Twelve Trees will be the largest section of parkland at 8.5ha, while Mill Meads and Abbey Mills will be transformed into water meadows and allotments.

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