Less than 48 hours after Inside Croydon reported on the concern of Selhurst families over the closure of a local open space, today the gates of Boulogne Road Recreation Ground had been reopened, the padlocks removed.
A community group had expressed well-founded worries that the cash-strapped council might try to flog off their children’s playground to help pay-off its debts.
CASSA – Community Action for Selhurst and Surrounding Areas – described Croydon Council as “being very questionable right now” when they locked the park gates on Friday without any advance notice.
A council official from the “parks liaison team” had sent an email to the residents’ group which referred to “the many problems at Bolougne [sic] road”. The email claimed that children’s safety was at risk, and blamed a “lack of cooperation” for the enforced closure.
By this morning, it seems that those “many problems” had somehow been overcome.
Today, CASSA was offering its gratitude to Councillor Muhammad Ali for intervening over the park closure.
“Gates open!,” a CASSA volunteer tweeted.
“Now looking to hear from the parks office to see how we can work together to improve this space!”
For more information about CASSA’s work in the Selhurst community, visit their Facebook page here
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That’s really good news. Thanks is due to Cabinet Member Cllr M Ali, for his prompt action.
Let’s hope that he, the residents and the parks management team can meet and co-operate to work out a satsfactory interim measure to get this park clean and safe, and not a no-go area. Bins need not only to be well located, by entrances and seats where youth gathers, but sufficient in number, and emptied day in day out.
It’s also down to the dog walkers to be responsible, and immediately clean up and bag their loved animals’ poo. I would implore them to use the bins, or ideally take their bagged dog waste home for binning, and to put themselves in the position of park workers, notably the grass cutting staff, who are paid (not a lot of wages per week) to cut the grass, and pick up litter, not to have to endure picking up dog excreta. It is also their health.
Enjoying the park comes with respecting it and park users and staff.
I must say that the local residents, with the twin parks of Boulogne Road and the Whitehorse Recreation ground over the road, are very fortunate to have such a big and attractive expanse of park to enjoy.
I do hope that, in spite of the council’s current financial difficulties, that a way of funding a programme of improvements is found for the future of this wonderful park resource, and maximising the recreational value in what ever ways seem best.
We need to be aware– this is Croydon, not Hampstead or New York, with a lot of very well-off people who might be able to pay a lot of money towards improvements, via crowd-funding, but even so, maybe that way of funding might work for specific projects in the park.
But maybe local people can also help out (and might already be doing so) in a very productive manner– by getting to know park users of all kinds, and encourage through example, and engaging in conversation, everyone to “Love their local Park”.
Local people will generally respond well to local people who they might see regularly, picking up litter, for example. Humour and a smile help too– sometimes more than signs and notices. But good clear, bold signage is important too. It shows that the Council own and manage the park.
Hearts and Minds, relaxing and living together, physically being out in the sun, walking on grass not tarmac, the greenery, and enjoying the open air– Freedom ! But Society too.
…….. that’s (something of) what Parks are all about !