Saturday, August 14, 2010

Children's play and overcentralised Britain

It is hard to keep up with the news and with blogging while on holiday, but I should record that I was sorry to see that plans to build hundreds of playgrounds have been shelved as part of government spending cuts.

But more than that, I was astounded to see that playgrounds are funded by national government. What exactly do local councils do nowadays? A new playground should be within the competency and funding ability of a parish council, let alone a district or county. It is a mark of what a centralised society Britain has become.

I should not have overlooked the last Labour government's Playbuilder scheme. It was announced on that rather queasy occasion when Ed Balls and Andy Burnham shared a rotating swing at an adventure playground.


Anonymous said...

I like your point about the centralisation on this. Our local playground was built by our local community group, and we found funding from local businesses and funding and support from local government as well. So I suspect that shelving the scheme doesn't necessarily mean that playgrounds won't be built.

dreamingspire said...

And shelving the scheme takes another brick out of the 'doing things to us rather than with us' edifice.

(Ta for the nod in the Jericho piece.)

cynicalgwyn said...

But if local communities were encouraged to do this work there would be no need for the Quango [The National Playground Facilitation Agency], its 150 staff, or its £175k pa Chief Executive.

Which would be a great loss.

Iain Sharpe said...

This was a Labour government scheme that I believe used up money left over at the end of a financial year.

We bid successfully for funds in Watford but found it all rather prescriptive in the rules for how the playgrounds should be designed. Although the announcement affects one playground in Watford we shall almost certainly fund it from our own resources without a government quango looking over our shoulder, so in fact the playground won't be shelved.