Monday, December 22, 2008

Dressington Avenue 'Ghost Playground': What's the Story?

Last week I went on a walkabout around Foxborough Gardens, Dressington Avenue and Rushey Mead with a representative from Regenter B3. The walkabouts are organised quarterly and and I find it's useful to pick up on issues that we've previously raised via e-mail but which haven't yet been resolved: sometimes a site visit helps.

I had a whole list of things I wanted to check up on from previous casework, but what was really interesting for me was finally to get into the derelict playground which is locked away in the middle of Dressington Avenue, in between the back gardens of some of the houses. I'd seen it before from the entrance near Ladywell Lodge, but had no idea how far it went back, or how big it was. It looks like as well as a playground area, there was also some kind of sports court. There are also various alleyways that run between the backs of the houses but are now sealed off.

I would love to know the story behind this; why was it locked up and abandoned years ago? I suspect it is a story of a poorly-designed 1970s estate and that the area, sheltered between back fences attracted anti-social behaviour and residents got fed up with the noise etc, but I could be wrong. It seems a shame just to leave it, but maybe that is what residents wanted? From a biodiversity point of view, the area is probably quite good for wildlife now, but in terms of local amenity, clearly it's wasted space.

Next time we're out door-knocking and speaking to residents in Dressington Avenue I will ask people, and I'll see if there is anyone in the Council's Housing team who knows the history. In the meantime, if there's anyone reading this blog whose memory stretches back to a time when this playground was open, I would be interested to hear from you. And if there are any current residents of Dressington Avenue reading this post, what do you think should happen to the space?

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