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St Mary's Churchyard, Newington Butts

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Monday 17 September 2007 11.19pm
Could the multi-coloured mini-Rovers in the foreground of that picture be Mayor Livingstone's latest method of dealing with anti social behaviour by local yoots?

He could be on to a vote-winner!
Tuesday 18 September 2007 6.42am
Actually they're there to pick up all the discarded ciggies, plastic bags, KFC containers and other stuff with which the public love to decorate their environment. And give out ASBOs as well of course.
Tuesday 18 September 2007 8.02am
Jackie is the park due to be ready for next Spring?
Tuesday 18 September 2007 9.39am
LDA press release dated July says complete by end of this year.

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Tuesday 18 September 2007 11.15am
Attached, word from above. Hope this is helpful:

"The scheme will establish a new entrance to the churchyard from Elephant and Castle adjoining the existing Leisure Centre which will connect the space to the wider public realm and facilitate improved access to it for residents, shoppers and visitors. The project includes the provision of modern play equipment including a toddlers section for children aged up to 4/5 and an area for 6-12 year olds that includes a climbing frame. The choice of equipment was based on consultation undertaken with children at the local Crampton school. In addition the scheme will refurbish the listed railings which front onto Newington Butts. The churchyard, while somewhat run down in appearance, includes some fine mature trees, and generally the space retains some of the ambience of a Churchyard including grave stones and burial chambers alongside Churchyard Row. The design for this area which is still owned by the Diocese of Southwark [but maintained by Southwark] seeks to retain the arboreal and green character of the original churchyard and as a consequence the alterations are being made with a light hand and take the form of new paving, lighting, soft landscaping and seating. I have attached a plan which shows the above."
Plan sent to James to put up for you
Tuesday 18 September 2007 11.29am
I wish there could be a cafe!
Tuesday 18 September 2007 11.40am
Click the images for larger versions:

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Thursday 20 September 2007 12.58pm
It is a wierd feature of playground consultation that kids are consulted, but rarely mums. What then happens is that the kids select a really fancy bit of kit that they really like but get bored with quickly, when for the same price they could have had 5 pieces of more standard, flexible and maintainable equipment that would keep them interested all summer.

The equivalent of that big flashy electonic toy at Christmas and Lego or Playmobile.

The other wierd thing is how little time many playground designers actually seem to spend in playgrounds watching kids play. As if they had wandered into playground design through landscape design.

My recommendation.
1. Involve local mums from the start and ask them what mix of equipment they will want.
2. Involve the man at Southwark Council who ends up having to maintain equipment or order parts for it. He should be able to veto manufacturers whose equipment is not durable or who are bad at providing service and parts. There is nothing that aids the dereliction of a previously nice green space quicker than a playground with half its equipment fenced off for months on end. (Plus repairing fancy equipment can soak maintenance budgets pretty quickly.)

Most kids in this area dont have gardens. They want somewhere to play on a daily basis, and mums want somewhere to meet and feel safe. So good solid and tried and tested. And consultation beyond the kids at a local school. That is just lazy.
Thursday 20 September 2007 1.28pm
I found a funny little adventure playground the other day between Trinity Church Square and the New Kent Road. Don't supose children had been near it in years; it had bars for swinging on and such like.

Compare that to the excellent Spa Park see-saw and roundabout type kit which seems to be well used. (And the funny wooden construction with ropes at Spa Park that does not seem to be.)
Thursday 20 September 2007 3.14pm
So what is the verdict does this look like a good scheme or a missed opportunity?
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