Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Rights of Play

Children in the playground
Child on swing despite park being inexplicably inaccessible

I love this sight.

The Orton Northgate community has yet to be adopted by Peterborough City Council and is still in the hands of the developers.

This week, the developers decided to do some work on the path leading to the only playground in the whole development. I live near this playground, and have watched this week as bewildered children and their stressed out parents have found to their great disappointment that access to the playground is currently closed. No warning, no information.

A thriving community has children happily playing in the fresh air at its heart. Living by the park, I know that summer has arrived when I hear the sound of children's voices, or adults calling their dogs. It's the sound of community, and it's lovely.

This evening, after two days of silence while the playground remains inaccessible, I was pleased to hear the sound of children's laughter again. I looked out of my window to see that parents had lifted their kids over the fence into the playground. And quite right too.

Public, shared amenities where children and their families can play in the fresh, open air really matter. I'm sad the property developer didn't think to let any of our residents know the park would be closed or how long for, but pleased that families (the ones with parents strong enough to lift their children over the fence, at least!) are not deterred.

This didn't need to happen.

A community isn't just residents. It includes local businesses, parish councillors and city councillors working together and sharing information. I only know why the park is shut because I went out and spoke to the workmen! What stopped the developer from at least letting the council and/or the Residents' Association know what was going on?

Update 23 April 2016

Playground with new gates and path
Open again!
The playground has re-opened with new double gates and a new path. Hurrah!

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