'Phenomenal community asset': Camden basketball hoop saved after public vote
- Credit: Kat Pirnak
A Camden community basketball hoop will remain open to the public after 79% of local residents voted against its removal.
Installed by Castlehaven Community Association (CCA), the Hawley Road basketball hoop featured in the video for Coldplay's The Scientist in 2002.
During the pandemic, the area saw more frequent use of the hoop accompanied by an increase in antisocial behaviour at night.
Following several complaints, the association announced it would be taking down the basketball hoop and replacing it with a portable free standing hoop.
However, the decision prompted an outcry from residents, and regular basketball players and their allies campaigned to save the hoop.
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Stewart Richard, a 57-year-old former tennis coach, told the Ham&High: “I come here every day to play basketball. When it comes to the hoop and antisocial behaviour, you can’t base everything on one or two instances.
“As long as kids in the community have things they can do to occupy their free time, there won’t be any problems and if you don’t have anybody here to intercede when gangs get involved in the area, that’s when there’ll be trouble.”
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The hoop was taken down earlier this year due to damage but later restored.
In response to the row, the CCA gave residents the chance to decide the fate of the basketball hoop through an online and postal survey.
On September 20, the results were unveiled, showing that of the 107 locals who took part, 79% voted to keep the hoop up.
Association chief executive Tricia Richards, 46, said: “All people of all ages and backgrounds use it. You get men in their 40s playing basketball as well as families with their little ones. It’s a pretty phenomenal community asset.
“Hawley Road has always had antisocial behaviour at night, but it isn’t just down to the basketball hoop. We tried our best to hear both sides and it was the community’s decision to keep the hoop. We’re now working on solutions to reduce the noise.”
The community centre has also raised concerns about continuing to run its foodbank over the winter months, which it set up last June in response to the pandemic.
Castlehaven’s operations manager, Sharon Baah, said: “We are expecting an increased demand for our foodbank over the next coming weeks.
“It’s a hard choice whether to keep your home warm or put food on the table.”