Nicky Gavron: London must build the needs of children into its planning policies

In recent weeks, children’s play space has been in the news for worrying reasons. A widely reported story about the Baylis Old School development in Lambeth revealed that the play spaces for the social and affordable rent homes were “segregated” from those for private sale. This was roundly condemned by local councillors, the Mayor, the government and industry representatives. Such separation is manifestly unjust and should have no place in a modern society. But underpinning this is a broader scandal which is rarely highlighted – we are squeezing children and young people out of our city.

Currently, spaces and places for children and young people are disappearing. This is a scandal which Sadiq Khan’s draft new London Plan is setting out to combat.

Imagine if we gave over some of the space currently allocated to cars – car parks, garages, street – to young people of all ages? Imagine if children’s play and young peoples’ activities were prioritised on our estates and housing developments and the ubiquitous ‘No Ball Games’ signs were replaced by basketball hoops?

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by Nicky Gavron

From OnLondon 3rd May 2019

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