Play Cage

OPEN - CLOSED - OPEN

The mystery of the complaints continues.
Since the sensible decision by keyholder Jo McGelligot to open the cage, there have been no reports of any consequences. So why was the cage closed in the first place?

Wouldn't it have been much better to have devoted some thought to providing playspace, rather than relying on this tired, divisive, exclusionary formula of locking play away and controlling it as much as possible - which as this summer has shown, is impossible.
13/9/08

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 August 20th 2008

NOTICE OF CLOSURE

'DUE TO NUMEROUS COMPLAINTS FROM RESIDENTS IN THE PROPERTIES ADJACENT TO THIS BALL COURT REGARDING BALLS BEING KICKED OVER THE WALL AND ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR, THIS BALL COURT WILL BE CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE'

 As predicted, after another unannounced management meeting last night, the play cage is now closed until further notice. From the very earliest stages, this was always a real possibility, which Zaun Ltd conceded, and which required a period of testing and genuine consultation which never happened.

It now remains to be seen whether this is yet another massively expensive folly on the part of a Juniper Management eager to bulldoze through its pet schemes, or whether Southwark is really to blame. Either way, blaming the kids themselves is a lousy tactic. And if indeed there was 'Anti-Social behaviour', punishing all the kids for the actions of a tiny minority is even more despicable.

In fact, the only behaviour has been the normal behaviour of children in the school holidays, using the meagre resources available to them in the only way they know how. With the restrictions on the use of neighbouring Brimmington Park surfaces, residents on the ground floor in the north wing of Juniper House can expect ball games in front of their windows again - until further notice. Or ball games have to be banned from the entire garden area - until further notice.

Another triumph for the current management structure. Due to its ruthless efficiency we now have a playcage which cannot be used (£30,000?), A 'garden (£40,000+?) only used by the gardener, the 'design'  of which makes natural play a problem by driving it to the margins of the area. And a front gate and fence which is rotting away after 3 years' use. (£35,000?)

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 August 2008

As suspected, the play cage could be closed as it needs to be locked at night and unlocked in the day, like any other prison.

" If there are insufficient volunteers to there may be periods when the ball court is closed." says the most recent piece of paper to come through Juniper doors.
5/8/08

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After four or five years monumental dithering and shenegans and expense, Juniper House kids finally have a space which can be used for ball games. Or will as soon as it is finished, for as many hours a day as it is allowed to be used.

As the residents of Tabard Gardens recently discovered, having a new municipal football cage is not always the resource it seems. There is no reason to believe that access will be much freer at Juniper than there. In fact, given the extreme proximity of the cage to the houses of Astbury Road -  nearer than the manufacturers recommend - it is likely to be less.

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