Estate’s playground left ‘pretty but useless’ after revamp

Furious mothers say their children’s playground has been left “pretty but completely useless” after a botched revamp.

An expensive redesign of Broadley Street Gardens in Marylebone in autumn 2010 was supposed to provide a community garden and play area for nearby families.

But they were left disappointed when a garden with boulders and crazy paving, but less play equipment, was built.

Louise Hall, a governor at nearby King Solomon Academy in Penfold Street, has two children aged seven and 14.

She said: “They could have just painted and decorated the play area, and cut out the bushes.

“Instead they spent an extortionate amount of money to employ some architect to design something we don’t need.

“They’ve put in a pretty designed garden that is completely useless. They need to learn to listen to people and give them what they want.”

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Labour Cllr Barbara Grahame, who represents Church Street ward, said: “It used to be an ordinary playground with swings, roundabouts and a slide but now there is just not enough play equipment for the children and not enough space for mums to sit down.

“This is an area absolutely full of families with children who don’t have access to a garden.”

Children from King Solomon Academy and St Edward’s Primary School in Lisson Grove use the playground after school.

Carmen Papoolal, there with nine-year-old son Laurence, said: “It looks better than before, but we need more for the amount of people that come here. Two baby swings is not enough.”

The revamped playground has baby swings, a small roundabout, a slide and a rope climbing frame for older children.

Most of the area is green space with boulders and stone walls. It received a green flag award in 2011.

Nanny Susan Case praised the revamped playground saying: “We come all the way from St John’s Wood to use it, its our favourite place to come and play.”

He added: “Residents complained about anti-social behaviour in the gardens, particularly noise at night from people gaining entry over the railings and the vandalism of its play areas.

“We worked with residents on pulling together the plans for the renovation of Broadley Street Gardens, which includes a play area for our young children and more seating areas for our elderly.”