The Independent London Newspaper
23rd April 2019

Decommissioned: £1 million adventure playground at Kilburn Grange heralded for award-winning design

    Decommissioned: £1 million adventure playground at Kilburn Grange heralded for a

    The adventure playground built six years ago

    Published: 2 June, 2016

    A £1 MILLION adventure playground, which won awards for its innovative design, is set to be decommissioned just six years after it was built.

    The Kilburn Grange Adventure Playground, described by architectural judges as “fun personified”, has been identified as an area for cost-cutting by the Town Hall.

    The playground, paid for by a government grant scheme in 2010, is inspired by tree forms and comprises a large play hut as well as a series of connecting walkways and rope-ladders designed to encourage social interaction between children.

    But the council’s new masterplan setting out a vision for an overhaul of Kilburn Grange Park includes plans to decommission the adventure playground once its equipment has reached the end of its “life-cycle”.

    The Town Hall insists it will be replaced with similar facilities but the decision has sparked anger with residents who say the playground should be kept open and maintained as it is.

    Vice-chair of the Friends of Kilburn Grange Park group, Janet Rosengrove, said it would be a “waste of money” to decommission the playground. “We would like to keep the adventure playground because it’s well used”, she said. “The council’s objective in the long run is to let it go and that’s something we don’t want to happen. Their argument is maintenance but our point is that the money for the new playground could go towards maintaining the current one.”

    The group also expressed concern about the potential loss of a Millennium Garden in the park, which will be replaced by new youth play facilities. “Why put something else in if you can’t afford to look after what is already there?” said Ms Rosengrove.

    The playground won awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects and Camden Council itself.

    John O’Driscoll, director of APES Adventure, who worked with Erect Architecture on its design, said the council had never shown commitment to the playground’s future. “It’s not a loss just for Camden but for London, because it was the first of its kind to embrace a design specifically for children to learn through risk-taking” he said, adding: “It’s disgraceful that they are throwing money away like this. I don’t think there was ever a commitment to it. They didn’t want to run it.”

    But Kilburn ward councillor Maryam Eslamdoust said the funds committed for the park’s maintenance had been “brutally slashed” under the coalition government. “Despite the direct cut central government made to our adventure playground, we and the Friends of Kilburn Grange Park have been pushing the council to invest in provision for this age group and the overall masterplan being proposed for the park shows the council is listening to us, so we will keep pushing,” she said.

    The Town Hall’s environment chief Meric Apak said: “There are no plans to remove the adventure play area. The materials used to construct the area do however have a limited life. The masterplan acknowledges that at some point in the future it will require extensive structural work and provides the opportunity to consider how this is best addressed in the current financial climate.”


    Kilburn Grange

    Doesn't this show what a waste of money that initiative was. No money for maintenance and a hotch potch of untrialled bespoke bits that win awards but wear out in no time in the real world? That money could have paid for ten excellent playgrounds with a 20 plus year life. And Councils such as this would never normally accept timber equipment because of vandalism and durability issues. Until it's free.
    I'm sure it's imaginative and it's loved locally which makes the use of materials that fail inside 6 years criminal and a system that can dole out a million pounds and then not fund maintenance. You have to question why architects were designing bespoke playgrounds - if they were any good at it they'd be manufacturers.

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