“A few weeks ago I went to a public meeting at the heart of a sprawling 1950s council estate in central London. The community centre was packed and airless. Tempers were flaring.
“You say you’re regenerating the estate, but how come our kids are losing their playground?” one mother shouted. “Why should we believe a word that comes out of your mouths?”
Families in the meeting at Churchill Gardens showed me an architect’s drawing that had an old people’s home on top of a huge section of the local primary school’s playground.
A previous public meeting had been told the playground would move underground. Now, local Labour councillors have launched a petition to save it.
“You’ve never heard anything like it,” Emma Taylor, 43, a mother of five whose daughter attends Churchill Gardens Academy, told me. “An underground playground! Because our kids don’t deserve fresh air, do they? Or apparently daylight, since the three-storey height of the building will take the light from the classrooms.”
Churchill Gardens Academy supports many children with special needs.
“God knows how those children would cope with an underground playground,” Emma says.