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.