Due to the issues surrounding the closed Pocket Park, Silwood Video Group contacted SafePlay, the company named by London & Quadrant representative, Melanie Banton, as being responsible for its maintenance. The reason given by L & Q for the park having remained closed all summer, when residents were promised back in May that it would be open, was said to be loose screws and other minor tweeks waiting to be done.
According to SafePlay, however:
“I am afraid we have had no instruction to carry out any works at this play area. Almost two years ago we quoted to install some new equipment but we did not win the tender, that was the extent of our involvement.”
Silwood Video Group have emailed L & Q with this information and await a reply. We also asked them why, when they are reporting more than 50,000 per year profit from the Lewington Centre, they cannot pay for someone to open and shut the pocket park, rather than relying a volunteer to do it. L+Q’s failure to “attract” a volunteer is widely held by residents to be the true reason the pocket park has remained shut all summer. We have invited them to confirm or deny these rumours.
At this month’s Residents Meeting (5th May), the rolling issue of the Pocket Park was raised. The park (sans grass) has been opened, and then closed, on and off for the last 6 to 12 months, and as it is the only source of outside space provided for young people on the Silwood as part of one of London & Quadrant’s Section 106 contracts, there is rising concern by parents.
‘Health and Safety’ issues were cited as the primary reason by L & Q officials at the meeting, however the nature of these health and safety issues were unable to be clarified when enquiries were made. Silwood Video Group members were told simply that there are ‘more repairs that need to be done to the park. This has been passed back to the contractor. As soon as these repairs are done, the park will be opened.’ It is unlikely that L &Q would be unaware of specific problems (if there were any), and seeing as children climbing over the gates in order to access the park (as they habitually do) presents greater health and safety risks, such an answer has not assuaged the residents’ questions, or annoyance.
Let’s hope that Godot, in the form of the golden key to the Pocket Park, decides to turn up soon…
Here in the UK after a few centimeters of snow cars are skidding all over the place creating a real danger for cyclists. In other countries motorists fit winter or snow tyres to their cars in the winter months. Surely by failing to do this motorists in the UK are negligent and therefore not insured in the event of skidding on the ice and having an accident?
If a cyclist rides on the pavement they are liable to a £500.00 fine. So what’s the fine for driving a car on an icy road without snow tyres? Nothing?
There were more than 11 cyclist deaths in London in 2009. In 2005, 20 cyclists were killed and 338 injured on London’s roads. In 2006, 18 were killed and 349 injured and 2007 14 died and 253 were injured.
Si “Cool” Rhode-Khil will be writing regularly on cycling for PlanA on the Spectacle Blog.