Parents say 'dilapidated' London park really is Britain's WORST playground – as council blames BREXIT
9th September 2021

PARENTS say a "dilapidated" playground in the middle of a housing estate is Britain's WORST – and the council blames Brexit for its lack of renovation.

Bare swing frames, cracked astroturf and few structures remain in the desolate park that has been left abandoned for "decades".

Neighbours say the playground in Harts Lane estate, Barking, London has been left neglected for years, ever since the council took away the swings because they were sick of having to repair them.

It comes after residents took to social media to ridicule a playground left to ruin that resembled 'Chernobyl', the Ukrainian city obligated by a nuclear bomb.

The park was overgrown and had just poles left standing of now-gone climbing structures.

And just an old exercise bike has been thrown in the corner in an attempt to spruce it up.

But the council say plans are underway to fix it – only the new climbing frame parts are "stuck in Europe".

Long-time resident Anthony Taylor explained: “It’s been like this since the late 90s, early 2000s and it’s a joke really, it’s an eyesore.

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“They’ve just given up on us. There’s a nice river over there, and the basket court over that now has hoops, as estates in east London go it’s not too bad.

"It could be really nice, and for the kids to just have something to do but the housing officer is non-existent. Just about all they’ve got is the slide.

“The thing is they don’t care about many parts of the borough unless it’s in public view, but we have to look at this everyday and feel let down and watch disappointed and sad children wandering around aimlessly with nothing to do.

“They’ve rebuilt the park over near the main road because you can see as you walk to town, but here we’re tucked away you can’t see nothing it’s out of the way so they don’t care.


The electrician added: “I’ve been fighting with the council for ages for them to do something, the council leader told me he literally had no idea this park was even neglected.

“Crime levels are obviously off the scale here too and things like this ain’t helping.

“With this council it’s all public image, we only even got flipping our central heating modernised in 2013.”

“During the pandemic they closed the park but it was so pointless but we as like ‘what are you closing it for there’s nothing for them to play on anyway!’"

A Barking and Dagenham Council spokesperson said: "“We can confirm that there is a new play area and gym being developed on the estate next to the river, this is in addition to a recently replaced play area next to Northbury Primary School.

“We cannot confirm the claims that it has been neglected since the 90s but can confirm that the equipment for this park has been ordered and is currently stuck in Europe due to complications brought on by Brexit. But we are confident we will be able to complete the works.”

And Ashante Joseph, mum-of-two and educator agreed, newly moved in, she was shocked to that the playground had been like this for so long.

The 23-year-old said: “It makes a big difference, it would be great opportunity to meet other kids because we haven’t really met any kids here because we just moved here and it’s been lockdown.

"It is really annoying cos we have to walk a little way to another park other there and it would be really nice to have it on our door step.”

And a mum-of-five, also returning home after picking her kids up from school said her kids have to make the best with what they've got.

Steffie Collett said: “It’s rubbish, it would be really nice for kids but the council don’t really care."

"My kids just make the best of what they've got but yeah obviously it is really hard for me to try and keep five kids always entertained, with nothing out there for them."

Another young woman who grew up on the estate and whose flat looks onto the park agreed: “There’s nothing for them to play with, when we were growing up we had all of it, but then about seven, eight years ago, because they kept breaking them the council just removed everything for the playground, and they never came back to fix it.

“It’s such a shame because it’s great for keeping kids out of crime and off the streets, but the council don’t care about the wider picture enough to want to do something about it because the kids could be here instead of straight onto video games or messing about in the streets."

Other neighbours chimed in: “They think that because they have built a new play area for kids nearby, they can forget this area?”

“Where is all the council tax going? And residential parking money and all the fines going? So the children can’t even have a play ground and live in a concrete jungle, it is disgusting.”

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