London councils under fire for plans to build homes on play areas

Harriet Grant of The Guardian reports that Councils in London are facing resistance over plans to build homes on children’s play spaces in inner-city estates.

Housebuilding plans are being drawn up across the capital in an attempt to reduce housing waiting lists. Southwark council alone aims to build 11,000 homes for social rent by 2043 and is looking for “under-utilised space” on existing estates. But residents say vital community spaces are being sacrificed.

Southwark is proposing a six-storey block of homes for social rent on the site of a football cage at the centre of the Elim estate in Bermondsey. Daniel Kanu, the head of the residents’ association and a football coach, says most local people oppose the plans.

“My own boy Philip started playing in this cage and now he plays for an academy,” he said. “The council are offering us a smaller indoor hall; kids need the outdoors. The beauty is you see your kids out of the window. There is knife crime, gun crime round here – parents don’t want their children on parks or out of sight. They are also offering to improve play spaces locally for four-, five-year-olds. When these kids grow up, where will they play?”

Read the article here.

Harriet Grant The Guardian Wed 2 Jun 2021

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