Crumbling play fort is political battleground

A NEGLECTED childrens play area and fort in Stroud Green is under siege from invading forces of algae

Charlotte Newton

A NEGLECTED childrens' play area and fort in Stroud Green is under siege from invading forces of algae.

Campaigners are threatening to draw battle lines in the sand over the way Stationers Park in Hornsey has been abandoned by Haringey Council.

The crumbling fort in Mayfield Road featured in Labour party election leaflets two years ago when candidates promised to "make sure the council has the funds available to build a new and better facility."

But nothing has been done - and no money has been set aside for the project in this year's budget, which was revealed on Monday.

Lib Dem Councillor Ed Butcher for Stroud Green said: "It's kids who are being let down by Labour's failure to honour its pledge. The council is pinning its hopes on an outside organisation to step in like a white knight to save the day, but from my experience that only happens in fairy tales.

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"Stationers Park is a real gem in heart of our community. It deserves and urgently needs the investment that was promised to local residents at the last election."

Leisure boss Cllr Dhiren Basu admitted the council was looking for cash from other organisations.

He said: "The council is fully aware of the investment needs at Stationers Park.

"We have undertaken a review of external funding opportunities, which was presented to local stakeholders in early December, and will now form the basis for targeted bidding over the coming months, particularly in relation to the play facility.

"In the meantime we have also started de-silting work on the water feature, and are planning to carry out essential, related, infrastructure repairs in early April.

"Stationers Park has achieved and retained Green Flag status for the last three years. This has only been possible because of the capital investment secured to date.

"The judges stated that the site continues to provide a first class green oasis for local people, thanks to the hard work and dedication of all those involved in its management and that it is, overall, a very well managed park with a good level of support from the community."

Lynne Brackley, 49, helps to run the Hornsey and Vale Community Centre and is also a governor at Weston Park School, which is next to the park. She said: "Both of my children played on the fort when they were little and youngsters come from all over Haringey to make the most of it.

"It definitely needs replacing though, because it's fallen into disrepair. I just hope that health and safety don't insist on replacing it with a metal play facility.

"The wooden structure enables children to have a real adventure and, although it's high maintenance, it's more sympathetic to the surrounding park.