London Play are a charity organisation, now proposing a welcome plan to keep the threatened playground in Battersea Park open, as a fully-staffed adventure playground.
London Play’s plan would see the Council cease its plans to disassemble the adventure playground and instead reallocate the funds for the planned refurbishment to fund an interim period, keeping the playground open with current staff.
This would pave the way for London Play to create a new model for playgrounds in Battersea Park, using the voluntary group London Play Association to run the facilities in the long term.
This model had been has already been pursued successfully in Tower Hamlets with cooperation with the Labour council.
In response to a Council question Kathy Tracey, Cabinet member for Education said: “London Play have suggested that they will develop firm proposals and officers are now waiting for these to be provided, so that they can be given proper consideration by myself and officers. If a proposal is made by London Play or by any other suitable organisation that maintains a staffing presence on site at no cost to the council, it will of course be considered carefully.’
Cllr Sheila Boswell said: “Whilst the high profile and hard fought campaign by residents and the local community to stop the council charging children to play in Battersea Park Adventure Playground was successful, the compromise offered by the council to keep access free of charge but remove the imaginative adventure play equipment and get rid of the experienced on site play workers was still lacking. Therefore I am delighted it is now being challenged by groups of concerned local parents and users who believe that all children should have the right to adventurous play especially those living in an inner city environment.
“The offer from London Play Association – a well established organisation – to takeover the running of the playground and crucially keep the on site play workers and the adventure play equipment so enjoyed by local children is to be welcomed.
“I hope the Council will give it it’s full support and provide the necessary transition funding to make it happen. If successful, perhaps a similar model could be used for adventure play parks in York Gardens and at Kimber Road in Southfields, which are also facing the loss of vital on site play workers and adventurous play equipment.”