Battersea Park Adventure Playcentre

Published: 24 May 2011

Contrary to stories appearing in the media, Wandsworth Council is NOT proposing to charge for entry to its parks or the ordinary playgrounds within parks.

The council is planning to charge an entrance fee to Battersea Park adventure playground, which is a fully staffed specialist adventure playcentre.

This is a pilot proposal for a four month trial period only and will apply only at weekends.

Wandsworth has three specialist adventure playcentres. The other two - in Battersea's York Gardens and in Southfields will continue to remain free of charge.

The Battersea centre is the largest of these three specialist centres and receives the most visitors - around 210,000 visits a year.

It offers a whole range of supervised activities - including street dance and drumming workshops, music and singing tuition, arts and crafts and sports coaching.

It is the size and scale of this centre, the challenging nature of its play equipment and the fact that it requires fully trained staff on duty to keep children safe that marks it out from others.

At weekends, when the £2.50 charge will apply, half of the children and families who attend come from other parts of the capital.

The centre costs Wandsworth Council tax payers upwards of £200,000 a year to run.

Introducing a pilot charging scheme at weekends will allow the council to carry on investing in the centre, recoup some of those costs and allow it to continue providing the best value for money for the borough's council tax payers.

Councils regularly charge for the use of sport and recreation facilities. Wandsworth is simply suggesting that users pay a very small charge to enjoy this superb leisure facility.

Over the past four years Wandsworth has spent £2.5 million on maintaining and improving its playgrounds, demonstrating the importance placed on providing good play facilities for children.

In total the council provides 202 playgrounds, play spaces, ball games areas and other play facilities.

Children's services spokesman Cllr Kathy Tracey said: "Wandsworth's council tax bills are half the London and UK average. Our Band D bill is £687 compared to a London average of around £1,315 so we make sure we leave people's money in their pockets so they can choose how to spend it."