Right to Play

Did you know that there is not a single public open space or play area in the large swathe of land between Trafalgar Road, Greenwich University and Blackwall Tunnel?

No, nor did I – unless you count that little patch of green, trees, rose bushes and litter where Tunnel Avenue meets Blackwall Lane. To be honest I hadn’t really thought about it, but the  hundreds of families who live in that little triangle currently have to go to East Greenwich Pleasaunce, the deeply creepy Glenister Green or, when the ‘Lympics aren’t on, to Greenwich Park – at least two of which are fantastic and, frankly not that far away, but all of which require crossing busy roads.

There’s a whole bunch of new housing being built, proposed or twinkled in developers’ eyes in that area just now and there’s currently a small group of people getting together to try to put the idea of public spaces /play areas  into developers’ minds when they’re applying for planning permission and into planning officers’ minds when they’re considering those proposals.

To be honest I can’t believe that that isn’t already something planning officers bear in mind, but it seems like a good thing to have a specific, stated agenda – something that developers and the council know there is a voiced demand for.

They haven’t earmarked any specific areas they want turned into public space, rather, in the words of Colin, one of the people behind the fledgling movement, ”The main thing is that provision of adequate open spaces and play areas be part of the council’s normal planning process and that it measures provision against recognised standards.”

Seems a reasonable enough plan to me. If you’d like to get involved there’s a good old fashioned paper petition doing the rounds just now (nothing online just yet). The first batch of signatures were presented to Greenwich Council in June, but they’re collecting more names for when it’s being discussed at the next meeting.

There’s a form you can download here (if you can’t get it to work, let me know – it’s a bloomin’ PDF which I always have terrible troubles with) – if you’re into the idea, print it off, sign it and drop it into Greenwich Communication Centre at 164 Trafalgar Road.

4 Comments to “Right to Play”

  1. Franklin says:

    I’m all for lobbying the Council and developers to provide more public open spaces and wish the campaigners all success.

    That said, it’s no more than a 10 minute stroll from anywhere within the Trafalgar Rd/Blackwall Lane triangle to either the Pleasaunce or the Park, and crossing Trafalgar Road isn’t that onerous, so I can’t see that anyone’s “right to play” is seriously infringed.

  2. Capability Bowes says:

    Childrens’ authors should be made to read their works aloud every night and architects should be forced to live or work in the buildings they design. Its a sad fact that, so often, buildings are designed without any thought as to how the residents will actually live and function as humans in them. The provision of open space is usually the first consideration to fall by the wayside – because, after all, open spaces don’t make a profit. The fact that they immeasurably improve the living conditions of residents is completely ignored in favour of financial considerations.

  3. Paul says:

    I represent a local arts collective very interested in public spaces and am keen to hear people’s thoughts for an art project we are developing in the area. Join us at East Greenwich Pleasuance on Friday 3 August 12 to 4 for a fun workshop looking at future of area. Your thoughts will help inform our work in the area.

  4. Aidan says:

    There is a very small playground and some open space in the gap between Colomb Street and Earlswood Street, a tiny swing and rocker thing on Lemmon Road, but much else.

    I think a play area is planned for Lovell’s Wharf at some stage in the development (Cllr Mary Mills is trying to bring this foreword).