Battersea Adventure Playground Demolition – Response from Wandsworth Against Cuts
For the record, the vandalism in demolishing a much loved much needed adventure playground is by far the biggest crime. Let’s not lose sight of this. That was done by Wandsworth council, and in particular Councillor Kathy Tracey. This is a lady who oversees Children’s services, and yet is intent on closing youth centres, One O Clock clubs, and the last three adventure playgrounds in the borough (at least two of which have now been bulldozed). In the council’s own survey 86% were opposed to this demolition.
I saw the building only hours before the eviction, and I can tell you that the paint on the floor and the broken windows were not evident. The building was messy, but that was how it had been left by the authorities since the end of September (when it closed to the public). The heating had also been left on. The occupiers had only been in the building since Monday 21st. You have to then ask yourselves, why would people feel the need to have to sleep outside for two weeks in a playground in freezing temperatures in January?
More facts that may interest you are…
* As soon as they went in, the occupiers began to clean up the park of random wood and leaves * The camp fire was a pre-existing one, in a ditch for that very purpose * When the fire brigade came to inspect the fire one night, they were satisfied that it was safe, and that safety measures were in place (buckets of water etc) * The park’s police unnecessarily closed the adjacent One O Clock club, suggesting that the protest was making it unsafe, and in the process trying to turn locals against the demonstration * That very One O Clock club is earmarked for closure anyway (as are all but two of the ones in Wandsworth) * The local public toilets (that the protesters used) were closed earlier in the day * The park’s police restricted access to a legal protest, and in doing so infringed on their human rights * The court eviction ruling did not include the building * The police did smash the windows during the eviction (even though the occupiers hadn’t caused any criminal damage when they’d entered the building) * When the last two protesters (a couple) were still inside, the police refused to allow food and sanitary towels to be dropped off to them.
Wandsworth Against Cuts will continue to oppose these unnecessary spending cuts to our public services. Elliott School, School crossing patrols (lollipops), meals on wheels and Kimber Road adventure playground (if it’s still standing) are just a few of the other campaigns that we involved in. Please visit www.wandsworthagainstcuts.co.uk
Spectacle Docs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fio1HN4L28I