Our local Labour councillors have developed an annoying habit lately of talking up anything that flows from the KALC development as if it were the best thing that ever happened to Lancaster West. Typical of this is the announcement below which featured in their recent Notting Barns Newsletter, recently delivered to some parts of the estate:
“The residents of the finger blocks, supported by local councillors, have won their bid to the Housing Regeneration Programme for a new playground in the open space between Hurstway and Testerton Walks. This means the Estate’s children will have a fantastic new outdoor playground, with the most up to date equipment, hopefully in time for this summer. This will compensate for the temporary loss of the Grenfell Tower playground, which re-opens late in 2014”
The Grenfell Playground – Before And After
The reality of this situation is very different from the spin that the Labour newsletter puts on it. Until recently residents of the ‘finger blocks’ did not favour the provision of playgrounds in the garden spaces between the blocks, preferring to protect the quiet and tranquiity of these areas. It seems that has all changed now. With the complete destruction of Lancaster Green, and the Grenfell Tower playground, there is no longer enough space to swing a cat in the Grenfell Tower area and the children and young people who used to inhabit this space have been displaced southwards towards the bottom end of the estate. There is now a despearate need for playspace throughout this whole area which has forced the residents to abandon their former preference for the quiet of the garden spaces. This is not the great triumph that Labour spins it as, but a compromise they have been forced to accept under considerable duress.
As for the claim that the new playground will ‘hopefully’ be ready this summer, there is very little likelihood of that. The funding has only just been approved (17th May) and so far there is no sign on the horizon of a planning application for the playground works.
Meanwhile, the once beautiful, happy and well used Grenfell Tower playground has been reduced to a bomb site as a result of the KALC works. To make matters worse no provision was made to replace or relocate this vital community resource. As a result of this wanton vandalism, local children attending the Grenfell Tower Creche have been forced to spend their playtime in the bare concrete stairwells and general grime along one of the estate’s main thoroughfares, as this is the only outdoor space available to them. The sight of this, as illustrated in our third picture above, is surely enough to reduce even the most hard hearted to tears
The promise – for what it’s worth – of a new playground further down the block, and not easily accessible to the children of the Grenfell area, will not ‘compensate’ in any way for the loss of this playground, regardless of the grandiose claims of our local quisling councillors.
It would seem that neither the local Notting Barns Labour Group, nor anyone else with power or responsibility at the Council, gave a thought towards the well being of these children before voting to destroy this precious resource.