Kids lobby Tower Hamlets council in bid to save Burdett estate playground
PUBLISHED: 21:05 11 September 2014 | UPDATED: 07:45 12 September 2014
Children turned up with their mums and dads at the Town Hall to protest at losing the last play area on their housing estate in London's deprived East End.
The only bit of green space they have left on the Burdett Estate in Bow Common is about to be built on.
Plans are being finalised for a school for 450 pupils to help ease the East End’s shortage of primary places—but it would leave 1,500 children with nowhere to play in the evening and weekends.
The 2,000 furious tenants handed in a petition to Tower Hamlets council last night, bringing their kids along for the protest.
“We already have two schools on the estate and they want to build a third,” petition organiser Hellal Miah told the East London Advertiser.
“We need more school places—we’re not against that. But there’s no room where we live. There’s absolutely nowhere else for our children within half-a-mile.”
He chairs Burdett Independent Welfare Organisation which lobbied the council meeting.
The petition was presented by their spokesman Junayd Miah, who told councillors: “The school plan is having a disproportionate effect because it would benefit 450 pupils, but take away our last open, safe green play area for 1,500 children—that doesn’t add up!”
He asked councillors who are parents if they wanted to leave a legacy behind “where you have chosen to take away our last open green play area”.
The scheme has not yet been submitted to the Town Hall for planning consent—so the families are to lobby the council’s planning meeting later this month to get it rejected.
The families claim “lack of consultation” by Poplar Harca housing association which runs the estate.
Cllr Rabina Khan, who backed the campaigners, told the meeting: “It’s important that we have open spaces so that when schools are shut we have somewhere for children to play, which also ‘designs out’ anti-social behaviour.
“I’m disappointed with the way Poplar Harca has dealt with the families and concerned with the lack of consultation.”
The Estate Board which normally liaises with tenants had been suspended by Harca for two years—during which time “many decisions were made” without involving the tenants, the council was told.
The petition urges the proposal to be rejected “in the interests of the community” and suggests an alternative site the tenants have located next to the estate which they say is vacant.