Petition calls on council to reinstate 'essential' basketball hoops

Basketball court in Wapping Gardens

Basketball hoops have now been removed at courts in Wapping Gardens. - Credit: Courtesy of Fernando Sarr

A petition has been set up urging Tower Hamlets Council to reinstall basketball hoops at courts in Wapping Gardens.

The hoops have been temporarily taken down while "competing concerns" from nearby residents and court users are considered, the authority said.

Fernando Sarr, who has played on the courts with a group for around five months, has set up the petition against the removal.

The Wapping resident called the courts "the best in the borough" and said people who want to play basketball will now have to travel elsewhere.

Fernando said: "The basketball hoops have been arbitrarily removed and they had become an essential part of the community.

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"Multiple groups of people have formed there, connecting the local neighbours."

He felt it was wrong for the removal to take place while Covid restrictions on indoor sport remain in place.

Basketball court, Wapping Gardens

A petition calls on the council to reinstall the hoops. - Credit: Courtesy of Fernando Sarr

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Fernando's petition has received 180 signatures in support.

It says: "In the context of the tough past year, in which the Covid pandemic forced people to stay home and indoor facilities are still restricted, removing outdoor recreational space is a disservice."

A council spokesperson said: “The basketball hoops have been temporarily removed from Wapping Gardens whilst we assess the competing concerns of both our residents and users and try to find a balance that works for them both."

Fernando felt the removal of the hoops was "abrupt" and said court users put forward proposals to reduce noise.

These included noise barriers, restricted playing times and polycarbonate back boards, instead of metallic ones.

He added: "They (the council) removed the courts really quickly but it has proven so hard to get them back.

"We are keen to open up a real line of communication if they need assistance, suggestions, or more information. 

"We are committed to positively contributing to the health and wellbeing of the Wapping community and we want to make a difference for local children and young people."

The council confirmed it is now "exploring the possibility of relocating the hoops, restricting playing time and/or installing noise mitigation measures."

The spokesperson added: “We are currently hosting a petition and will respond formally once this concludes on June 23.”

Visit the council's website to view the petition and make comments.

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