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Campaigners oppose plans to build childrens play area in Woodford

PUBLISHED: 07:26 21 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:42 21 May 2018

Members of the Save Our Green group that is trying to stop the playground being built on the historic piece of land, with MP Iain Duncan Smith (Far right). Photo: Peter Matheson

Members of the Save Our Green group that is trying to stop the playground being built on the historic piece of land, with MP Iain Duncan Smith (Far right). Photo: Peter Matheson

Peter Matheson

A group of campaigners from Woodford Green are fighting plans to build a play area in Monkhams Ward.

Prior to August last year a group was set up in a bid to build a wooden play area on the Green in Monkhams, Woodford Wells and more than 1,000 people signed a petition including MP Iain Duncan Smith.

Now another group - Save Our Green - is trying to stop the playground being built on the historic piece of land.

The group was set up in March and residents are concerned the play area will attract anti-social behaviour, that there will be no space for visitors to park and also said that those who have signed the petition aren’t local people and are from as far away as Spain, Canada and Ireland.

Sheila Matheson, who is a member of the group, told the Recorder “The Green is a natural playground, why import logs and balancing structures and waste Council Tax payers’ money?

“The Green is part of ancient Epping Forest and it should not be turned into a park.

“We are not against change for the good but not when it is detrimental to the natural environment when it affects the many.

Fellow member of the group Graham Williams told the Recorder: “I am a local Monkhams resident of 30 years and am totally opposed to the playground proposal on the Green.

“My children have been brought up on the Green and have never felt deprived of a playground, however “natural”.

“The Green, in essence, is nature’s playground and can be whatever you want it to be.

“It had existed in its present form for over 100 years.

“There is no need for a formal playground which will only become a haven for litter and anti-social behaviour.”

Local resident Andrew Brabazon said: “It’s a beautiful natural space and I don’t want to see it destroyed.”

He is also worried about where visitors to the play area would park.

He said: “The playground group has over 1200 signatures in their petition.

So if on a hot summer day we have only 10 per cent of them turn up, that is 120 people. Say 50pc drive. That is 60 more cars in an area that is highly congested and short of parking.

“If you, like me, already have people regularly parking across or in your driveway, you will understand my concern.”

Residents have also raised concerns about the whereabouts of people who have signed the petition, and said that the addresses of those that have signed it are from Colchester, Spain, Canada, Ireland and Milton Keynes.

Sheila added: “Those in favour of the playground are seeking names in order for the request for a playground to be discussed at a full council meeting. 

“They are meant to be local names, if a number of names are from other places the petition becomes meaningless.

“I’ve been out and spoken to people who live around The Green and I’ve only had one person who said that they want this play area.”

Gillian Thompson, 77, who lives in The Green, very close to where the proposed play area will be said: “When I first saw the plan I thought it was an early April Fool.

“It is a disaster area.
“It has characterised Woodford Green for many years.

“Woodford doesn’t need this.”

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