Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Triangle continued. Why are Lambeth Council seeking to evict the playground in the face of alternative options?

In early August I wrote an article, The Triangle playground vs. Archbishop Tenison School, on Lambeth Council's refusal to renew the playground's lease, despite the fact that Archbishiop Tenison has had its Building Future Schools project scrapped by the ConLib government.  In that article, I mentioned that the Triangle Playground have set up a petition that readers could sign to support the playground, but I noted that I couldn't understand why the Triangle Association thought the Council wanted to turn the site into a car park, when the Council had denied their intentions in this FOI request.  I have now obtained a little more information to make sense of the issues.

In the meantime, there have been further developments.  Clare Casey of the SLP has covered the story pithily.  The SLP noted on 26th August that Jim Clancey was summonsed to court in August and asked to return in October this year.  According to Casey's article, Lambeth Council are "determined to press ahead with plans" and Cllr Robbins has added his view to the mix, 'It’s sad that the pupils at Archbishop Tenison’s do not have enough space to play in.'.  I can't understand why, if the school expansion has not yet taken place, the pupils don't have the space to play in.  Does that mean that the school has increased its intake without first ensuring that they had enough space?  The Evening Standard picked up the story a week or so ago in a paragraph here, so it seems an apposite time to explore the the matter further.

In July 2008, when Lambeth Council were considering how they might expand Archbishop Tenison, they had architects (Atkins) draw up a number of documents to show what the expansion might look like.  (All of the drawings are shown below).  As you can see, out of 6 options (including the control option), only the final version of the drawing requires the swallowing up of the ground upon which the Triangle playground sits.  So the question is why the Council opted for that version and not one of the others...  Why did Lambeth Council choose option 6?

I've received information that suggests that one of the incumbent Oval ward councillors (one who is said to have close ties with Cllr Steve Reed), has not responded to any of the letters sent on the issue of the Triangle playground.  Is there anybody on the Council prepared to stand up and defend the borough's playgrounds?  The One O'Clock club in Kennington faces losing land, the Triangle faces eviction and Lollard Street Adventure Playground have had to set up a Friends group to ensure that it is well supported.  In the meantime, I'd be particularly pleased to hear from anybody that could point me to a report on when the Ethelred Youth Centre was last inspected?  Who owns the lease on that piece of land?

Perhaps somebody (councillor or otherwise) could shed some light here on why the BFS (Building Future Schools) team chose option 6 when there were 5 other perfectly good options for the school expansion?  Perhaps I'm wrong.  If the Council do not intend to turn the Triangle playground into a car park, as they remarked here, then why exactly is the Triangle land needed for the expansion of the school?  I think there are probably more questions than answers on this particular matter.


Cllr Jack Hopkins said...

Dear Lurker,
In response to your comments that Labour Councillors in Oval have not responded to Triangle Group I include our joint response in support to the Chair:

"We firmly believe that all young people in Oval deserve access to suitable, free, open play space which is fit for purpose.

The Triangle Adventure Playground is a well loved local play amenity and the fifty years of provision is thanks to the generous time and resources donated by local residents.

We want to work with the Council and Archbishop Tenisons School to keep the adventure playground open.

We have expressed this view to Councillor Pete Robbins (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People) and Councillor Steve Reed (Leader of the Council). We urge the Council and school to negotiate an agreement that ensures children on the Ashmole and Bolney Meadow Estates and local streets can play safely locally.


Cllr Jack Hopkins and Cllr Jane Edbrooke
Labour Councillors for Oval Ward

Perhaps check your facts first?

SE11 Lurker said...

Cllr Hopkins,

Many thanks for your comment on this post. I will check with my source about the emails/letters that did not receive a response to ensure that my facts are correct.

I'd be grateful if you could explain in some more detail why the Triangle playground face eviction when the BSF program cannot go ahead due to lack of funds?

Jason Cobb said...

@Jack the Lad - why was option 6 chosen as the preference, please?

SE11 Lurker said...

@Cllr Hopkins, the correspondence that you failed to respond to was a letter on your desk on the 9th May (one day after you were elected) and a second letter sent on 2nd August.

I acknowledge that you did respond (with the statement you pasted into the comments) to a letter sent to you on the 26th August concerning the matter. 3 months is a long wait for a response from a local councillor.

Anonymous said...

i really hope that playground doesn't go

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