Chisenhale Primary School’s Play Space removed overnight by council

Chisenhale’s Play Space was removed last night, opening the roads around Chisenhale Primary School.

Chisenhale’s schoolchildren arrived at the school gates this morning to find that their temporary pop-up playground had been removed overnight.

Tower Hamlets Council contracted workers to take away the pop-up playground, known as a Play Space. According to Chisenhale Road residents, the workers started dismantling the Play Space at 1am. 

Last month, the workers attempted to remove the Play Space but were prevented from doing so after children saw off the workers in a standoff when a parent spotted men in hi-vis jackets arriving to dismantle the structure. 

It is part of a wider dispute over traffic reduction measures near Chisenhale Primary School after Tower Hamlets’ mayor, Lutfur Rahman, failed to renew Chisenhale’s School Street after the School Street’s experimental traffic order (ETO) lapsed.

The Play Space, which occupied part of Chisenhale Road and the top of Vivian Road, created a roadside play area that was introduced in April 2021 after parents and the school fundraised £10,000 to install it. It was originally part of Covid measures to allow children to play safely but it increasingly became the focal point for some parents and children protesting the School Street’s removal. For some residents, they found the Play Space’s presence a cause for concern and compiled a 10-page report citing their worries about the installation of the Space.

Mayor Rahman has been vocal about following through on his manifesto promise to ‘reopen our roads‘.

In a previous statement, Mayor Rahman said: ‘The Chisenhale Primary School Street was established through an Experimental Traffic Order (ETO), which introduced road closures for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. The ETO has now lapsed, and I have decided – in keeping with my manifesto promise to re-open our roads – that the road closures will not be made permanent.’

The mayor added that the council took the safety of children ‘extremely seriously’ and was considering alternatives to the School Streets scheme, such as zebra crossings, and school crossing patrols.

If you read this article, read our piece on the increase of local schools’ energy bills this autumn and winter.

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