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New Burgess Park Playground

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Monday 9 April 2012 11.12pm
OK, it's in SE17 but I need to moan about this somewhere, and here seems like a great place to vent. Has anyone checked out the new playground area which has opened in the last week or two in Burgess Park? We visited with our 2 year old daughter over the weekend and were sorely disappointed by what's been done. The problem is there are hardly any traditional children's playground facilities there! One swing, a death slide, a few ropes lying on the ground to help the climb up a steep incline to a single slide with a mammoth queue of kids waiting to ride it. A big spiders web rope lattice climbing structure which very few kids seemed to be interested in and some mounds covered in that spongey rubber safety surface stuff. That's not forgetting several table tennis tables built on a sloping surface.

A previous phase of the playground in front of the cafe was also woefully designed with a couple of sandpits that are difficult for toddlers to negotiate being too deep, 3 swings and a few piles of logs to climb across.

But where are the toddler friendly climbing frames, swings, see-saws, roundabouts and trampolines? Not in the revamped to the tune of 6 million Burgess park that's for sure! You have to go to Ruskin Park in Denmark Hill for anything half decent. Unless there's a further playground phase I'm not aware of that they haven't opened yet... Surely putting decent playground facilities into a park makeover isn't rocket science!

Anyone else have opinions on this?
Tuesday 10 April 2012 8.33am
Havent see this one, but I echo your views when it comes to the one in St. Mary's Church playground in the E&C. It's SO child-unfriendly, all concrete mounds and dangerous things which mean that only the big children play there. Small children will need to go to The Geraldine Mary Harmsworth park in the Imperial War Museum or the lovely Lambeth park opposite ST. Thomas's Hospital. all these trendy playgrounds are just impossible for small children to PLAY in which is the idea!
Tuesday 10 April 2012 8.14pm
Have you tried Myatts Fields Park, a little further on than Burgess but not as far as Ruskin:

Can recommend for a long day out with a young family or anyone else for than matter.
Tuesday 10 April 2012 11.22pm
Spa Road park (on Grange Road) has a traditional style playground for small kids.

I remember Myatts Fields very well from when I was a child - mind you the playground equipment back then was lethal - I scraped the skin of my hands and knees many times falling off the swings and the big standy-up roundabout!
Wednesday 11 April 2012 11.15am
We lived for 10 years in Myatts Fields, and were part of the regeneration of the park project. We left before it was finished but I gather it's super. A bit far from SE1 though...
Wednesday 11 April 2012 4.48pm
There are some pictures of the new Burgess Park over-5s playground here for anyone who hasn't seen it.

I think it looks good and it's been very popular since it opened. I'd absolutely agree that the previous under-5s playground is far too small, and this is a point that has been made repeatedly to the Council.

There is supposed to be play distributed around the park as part of the new masterplan, but how much of this will happen without additional funding I can't say. The local friends group has been encouraging the council to have more natural play rather than formal play equipment, arguing that these are more fun for children and probably easier to maintain. This will mean more 'piles of logs' often using the trees that were cut down during the park revitalisation. I don't know whether children really prefer logs to swings and roundabouts. However if you are looking for parks with play equipment for younger children in the SE17 area, there's certainly some in Faraday Gardens and Surrey Square Park.
Thursday 12 April 2012 10.08am
Auntie Pat wrote:
Spa Road park (on Grange Road) has a traditional style playground for small kids!
It is for 4 year olds & under, and is well used. There is also the playground on Long Lane, opposite Simon the Tanner pub.
Further afield, there is a children's playground in Southwark Park for little ones.
Thursday 12 April 2012 10.02pm
jackie rokotnitz wrote:
... We left before it was finished but I gather it's super. A bit far from SE1 though...
It definitely is super, thanks to all those who put in the effort to make it so and it's only about 10 mins away from SE1! Well worth the journey on the P5 from the E&C. Bring swim togs for the water fountains in the summer, also great music programme on Sat/Sun in Summer.
Tuesday 22 May 2012 8.53pm
You are right to start a thread to moan about this absolute waste of money. Lets hope that its not a precursor of what is to come with the park.

What's wrong?

1. Car Park - there is not enough room to turn cars unless you have a tiny car. Anyone in an estate car will be trying to back and forward with cars peeping behind them trying to turn at the bottom of the U turn to exit.

2. There is no entrance near the car park - you have to walk right around - so everyone climbs over the fence and nearly all the shrubs are already trampled.

3. Because it is all little hillocks, after all the rains there are pools and pools of fetid water laying everywhere. I notice the rest of the park has all these hills - is this what we are going to have everywhere.

4. Table tennis tables on a slant - apart from making them totally unuseable - is guaranteed to give anyone an injury who tries to play there.

5. The large slide encourages anti social behaviour from older kids - and on the 3 occasions I have been there I've witnessed no end of children getting hurt. Because of the angle of the slide and the sealing of each ring to the next ring young kids heads get thrown around and they get an awful knock.

6. The safety rubber surface everywhere is notoriously slipperly when wet. It a disaster waiting to happen.

7. The slope upto the entrance to the slide. Firstly it is so steep that when children come off the rubber and try to stand up they are in danger of toppling backwards. It wont be long before there is a serious injury.

8. Because of the slope, all the grass around the edges is already worn away and in the winter this entire area will become a mudbath.

Whoever designed this needs to be shot. Is this what we have to come for the rest of the park.

Glad I got that off my chest - as I've had the photos I took waiting for a while to write to the two local papers. Just dont have the time to compose a letter to them.
Wednesday 23 May 2012 5.28am

To be honest, I disagree with most of what you say, but some of that is just going to come down to subjective opinion. Living next to the park, however, I can certainly say that the new playground is extremely popular with local children, most of whom don't need to travel there by car. The park has been open since the beginning of the Easter holidays and there haven't been any serious injuries.

Regarding your third point, the pools of water (which were there after the record rainfall of April, but which have now soaked away) are a deliberate part of the design, preventing surface water run off and allowing the water to slowly soak into the ground providing water to the plants and trees. The ditches are known as swales and they are a standard water conservation technique.

In the new park, the hills and swales over a large area of open land behind the playground have been designed so that rain water gradually filters into the lake helping keep the water level high without having to add tap water as was previously necessary despite the fact it cost a lot of money, lowered the water quality and resulted in blooms of toxic algae.

I've used the table tennis tables without injury. They may not be up to Olympic standard, after all they are outside and wind is more of an issue than the slight slope, but they're fine for a fun knock around.
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