On Tuesday night at the Town Hall Councillors heard a heartfelt plea from a local mother describing the effect of the £2.50 charge for the use of Battersea Park Adventure Playground on her child and other local families, especially those on low incomes.
Despite more than 1000 signatories against the pilot scheme and a deputation of local mothers at Tuesday night’s Education and Children’s Services OSC, the Tories refused to reconsider the decision to start the pilot to charge for the use of the Playground, so the £2.50 charge will start on July 2nd.
Labour councillor Simon Hogg addressed the committee on behalf of the petitioners against the plans: “Collecting the signatures was straightforward. We haven’t had to spin the issue: it is fully understood and wildly unpopular’ People who would not normally talk to us have literally crossed the road to sign – including at least one Tory councillor’s wife.”
Opposition Speaker on the committee, Labour councillor Wendy Speck gave the case for the Health and Education benefits of the Adventure Playground and its uniqueness in providing a space to develop a variety of learning skills and promote good health. She ‘The pilot to charge for the use of the park is depriving the most vulnerable in the area from taking up these opportunities and restricting it to those who can afford to pay. It is a special setting which provides an adventurous experience where fears are overcome, potential realised, talent discovered through play opportunities.’
‘Battersea Adventure Playground has had free access since its start and there must be other ways of securing its future, including increasing charges for corporate users of the park like bankers JP Morgan Chase, The Independent Schools’ Show and The Designer Wedding Show.’