Battersea Park adventure playground occupied to stop demolition
In October 2012, Wandsworth Council decided to demolish the popular adventure playground in the southwest corner of Battersea Park (which had existed for more than 50 years), based on various spurious claims regarding health, safety and funds. The community strongly objected and founded the Wandsworth Against Cuts organisation as an answer to the Council’s general attitude. The playground was occupied on the 5th of January 2013 by members of the community as well as activists from the Occupy London organisation.
Adventure playgrounds offer a unique experience for children and teenagers, providing much more than just swings. This type of playgrounds are specifically designed to encourage children to take initiative, use their imagination and be more active during playtime. Staff, volunteers and carers are always present to provide assistance, keep the children safe and organize activities.
On 23rd January, the police succeeded in evicting some of the occupants, but not all of them. This demolition of the adventure playground for “safety” reasons was described as “part of a gentrification ripple effect starting from Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms area”.
Wandsworth Council insisted cuts were necessary but claimed it was spending £200,000 replacing the demolished adventure playground with standard play equipment.
The protest group was occupying the playground to try to stop workmen moving in to knock it down, which they began to do immediately after it was evicted.
From the 2016 London Rebel History Calendar: