As inflation halts housebuilding projects the Guardian has highlighted the issue of play spaces being sacrificed and abandoned when developments go wrong
Families in south London say their children have stopped playing outside after communal spaces and playgrounds were ripped out to make room for new homes and then left boarded up when Southwark council ran out of money.
The council began tearing down large parts of the Bells Gardens and Lindley estates in Peckham last August but abandoned the build in January due to a funding crisis driven by rising interest rates. All that remains of the previous play area is a small pitch surrounded by hoardings and out of sight of the flats.
Experts warn the boarded-up area – which locals say is an “abomination” – illustrates a crisis in how social housing is funded as well as an urgent need for better laws to protect children’s play spaces.
Helen Dennis, a councillor and cabinet member for new homes and sustainable development, told the Guardian the council was being hit by mounting costs. “Increased inflation, significantly higher building costs and interest rates following the government’s mini-budget a year ago have meant that councils across the country have had to change plans.
“The residents of Bells Gardens worked so passionately with us to plan what was to happen on the estate. It’s incredibly disappointing. We will provide a playground and we are working as quickly as possible to get things moving again.”
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