A children’s adventure playground that closed during the first lockdown is contaminated with asbestos and will not reopen until late 2023.
An independent soil specialist hired by the council discovered the presence of the material below the soil of Frederick’s Adventure Playground on Westcott Road in Kennington in late 2019. A council spokesperson told the News: “The soil specialist recommended that an area needed to be covered with a protective membrane and fenced off to prevent access. We immediately complied with this advice.
“A few months later a pandemic was declared and the playground was closed.
“We have since committed to redesigning and landscaping the whole playground, assigning an investment of more than £600,000. Works will include new play equipment and will prioritise the creation of a safe space, where local children can play together and have fun.”
The playground once buzzed with life but is now overgrown and decrepit, with a locked gate barring entry.
A banner outside says “new play equipment coming soon”. In reality, families will have to wait over two years before getting to enjoy it.
Cllr Jasmine Ali said: “This summer, we will ask local people what they’d like to see in the playground. This will inform our plans and make sure that the final design meets local needs.
“Once this is complete, practical steps such as design work, securing planning permission and a contractor to complete the works, will lead onto landscaping and construction, which we hope to complete in late 2023.
“Works will include new play equipment and will prioritise the creation of a safe space, where local children can play together and have fun.”
At a Newington Ward meeting on 15 February a Southwark Council officer said: “We want to do this right rather than quickly.”