Wandsworth parents ask builders to quit bulldozing playground

By Alexandra Rucki – Wandsworth Guardian
A stand-off between builders and parents took place this morning, after bulldozers began to destroy equipment at an adventure playground. 

A handful of campaigners asked builders to stop pulling down the adventure playground in York Gardens, Lavender Road, this morning.

Parks police were called to the park in Wandsworth, with the builders promising to save a skate board built by children who use the park.

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Rescue Plan For Battersea Adventure Playground

Wandsworth’s Labour councillors are pleased to support the bid by London Play to save Battersea Park Adventure Playground.

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.”

Wandsworth adventure playgrounds could be privatised

Re-posted from the Wandsworth Guardian

Adventure playgrounds in York Gardens and Kimber Road Gardens could be privatised, but the council has scotched rumours that they may be closed. Cash-strapped Wandsworth Council confirmed on Tuesday that “at this stage there are no proposals to close any of them” – a statement welcomed by campaigners determined to protect all three of the borough’s adventure playgrounds. However, a council spokesman said talks are underway to transfer the two playgrounds to new providers and it is talking to users of Battersea Park adventure playground about how it can be run on a reduced budget.

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Playgrounds And Kids Clubs Under Threat In New Round Of Cuts

An anonymous source has leaked Wandsworth Tories’ plans to close adventure playgrounds and children’s clubs. In the firing line are playgrounds in Battersea Park, York Gardens and Kimber Road Gardens and kids clubs at Alton and Heathmere schools. The closures will also result in more job losses for Council workers. This is just part of a package of £30m cuts Wandsworth Council wants to push through to on the orders of the Tory-led coalition government.

Labour Leader Rex Osborn said: “Providing play facilities for our children is one of the core services that every resident expects from their council. I understand that cuts need to be made in these difficult times, but some things need to be kept sacred and protected at all costs – playgrounds are clearly one such area.

The Tories considered charging for a playground earlier in the year: thousands of angry parents signed petitions in protest and got the story onto the front page of the national newspapers. Wandsworth Council should support local families and promising to protect all children’s play facilities.”

The information was leaked to Wandsworth Guardian. For more read here:




Council Calls In Police To Halt Peaceful Pay2Play Protest

 By our man in Battersea Park

Wednesday seemed like the perfect day to go to Battersea Park to continue our ‘No pay to play’ campaign. It was national ‘Playday’ – a celebration of the child’s right to play – so what better time to remind everybody that the Tory council in Wandsworth are still hell-bent on charging children £2.50 to use the adventure playground in the park. It was of course an added bonus for us that the council’s Play and Community Services department (the very people trying to charge the children and certainly a department in the running for hypocrites of the year award) had arranged an event right next to the adventure playground in honour of the day.

The morning got off to a wonderful start and with the sun beaming, posters printed, flyers made, petitions on clipboards, drinks and snacks ready, Jack and I set off to the park (poor young Jack carrying the pasting table full of posters and flyers all the way there…and back). We arrived just before twelve midday, I went to the Parks Office (I had been advised to do this) to let them know we were there and what we planned on doing, the lovely lady there said it was fine so we set up our beautiful stall.

Unfortunately, the people from the council weren’t too pleased about this, Kathy Tracey – Cabinet Member for Education – was due any minute and they felt it wasn’t really the look they were going for, so they decided the best course of action was to call the police. In fact not only did they call the police but they told them there was a ‘group protest’ taking place without stating any numbers. Next thing we knew three police cars turned up and they had us surrounded…  I explained to them they were just in time as we were about to start kicking bins over!

After what was a lot of fussing I am now the proud owner of a Wandsworth Parks Constabulary Bye-laws Handbook, which basically points out that you cannot to anything, and I mean anything, for example “no person shall….take part in any public assemblage in any park, garden or open space” – which seems a little unfair, no more family picnics I’m afraid! Also “no person shall… enter in to any public discussion or cause” and “no person shall distribute any bill, placard, or other printed or written matter” – I’m afraid with their mighty bye-laws handbook they had us beat. But we weren’t going to let that stop us; there is certainly nothing about what you can wear…

 By this point a couple of the Women of Wandsworth mums had joined us, we were forced to take down the table and pack up but then the police left so we all put posters on our backs, and engaged in public discussion (i.e. we went round collecting signatures pointing at Kathy Tracey, saying it was all her fault and they called the police on us for trying to demonstrate) Everybody was on our side, we got over 100 signatures and really got up some noses, so all in all a good day I’d say – we were just lucky to get out of there without being kettled!

For more information on ‘No pay to play’ please visit http://wesaynopay2play.com

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