Council listens on play centre plan

Published: Wednesday 29th June 11

The council is to look again at pilot proposals to introduce a modest entrance charge for the large adventure play centre in Battersea Park at weekends.

Children's services spokesman Cllr Kathy Tracey said: "We have listened very carefully to all the suggestions and points of view that have been made on this issue and feel it would be right and proper to explore these more fully before looking at this matter again."

The pilot proposal concerned the introduction of a £2.50 admission fee at weekends for the centre, which boasts some of the most challenging and exciting play equipment anywhere in London.

It is unique in this part of London because it is fully staffed at all times to ensure that children can enjoy the wide range of play equipment safely and under proper supervision. It also boasts a range of other attractions, including staff supervised street dance and drumming workshops, music and singing tuition, arts and crafts and sports coaching.

Cllr Tracey added: "People must remember that we are not talking about a normal run-of-the-mill playground. It is a highly sophisticated, fully staffed leisure complex that costs local taxpayers more than £200,000 a year to run.
 
"Councils up and down the country regularly charge for the use of sport and recreation facilities. We are simply suggesting that visitors pay a very small charge to enjoy this specialised leisure facility.

"There is no question of charges being introduced at our normal playgrounds, or at the borough's two other adventure play centres. These would all continue to be free.

"Unfortunately the council's financial situation means that we are having to find big savings across all our services. As a result of the nation's debt and deficit levels, we have been left with no choice other than to reduce our spending by at least £70m over four years including by £30m next year alone.

"Over the past four years we have spent £2.5 million on maintaining and improving Wandsworth's 200 playgrounds and play areas, which demonstrates how much we value them. If we do decide to introduce this charge, then that money will help keep this play centre open and allow us to continue investing in its future."

There are three adventure play centres in Wandsworth. The other two are in King George's Park in Southfields and Battersea's York Gardens. It is the size and scale of the one in Battersea Park and the fact that it requires such high numbers of staff on duty to keep children safe that makes it different.

ENDS

 View comments on this article

Comments on this news item have been closed.

If you wish to complain about a comment, contact us at press@wandsworth.gov.uk.

Recent comments

Thankfully the Council has listened to the voice of children, young people and families. Free adventure play is a child's right. If this right is not supported by us all, including our council services, then children and young people will still exercise their right elsewhere - in streets, parks and estates. This will then have an effect on all residents and businesses. Also, charging will absolutely divide the "haves" from the "have nots". The hardest to reach children have the most to gain from supervised creative activity. Let us celebrate play and include all.
Lea

1 July 2011

Residents that live in Wandsworth should not be made to pay for our children to use the adventure play ground for a charge of £2.50 if this is going to be the case then I will go further a field and go to hyde park where they do not charge for children to play regardless and to think it is the Queens park after all that we can use for free.
maxine williamson

1 July 2011

Agree with Sue. Put an extra £1 on council tax but let children enjoy their childhood regardless of income carefree
Anne Kearns

30 June 2011

I understand that a charge would generate much needed income, but this fee will exclude many local families. If you have three children a "free" trip to enjoy the local park ends up costing £7.50! Times are especially hard for families and while I support the need to fund play services and keep them operating surely £1.50 would be more feasible and affordable, otherwise this facility will become "exclusive" and once again the children who need these opportunities most will loose out:(
bec

30 June 2011

I still maintain that it is outrageous to charge for this. Put an extra £1 on my Council Tax, if that will ensure that this playground continues to be free for those who need it. Charging at weekends will ensure that the playground is full of nice, well-dressed, well-off, well-behaved children from Chelsea and from the "nicer" parts of the Borough. So what are the poorer children, excluded from their own playground, going to do over the weekend if not get into trouble? As a single parent with two children when the playground was first set up, there would have been no way I could have afforded to pay for my children to play there on the weekends. Please reconsider this outrageous decision.
Sue

29 June 2011