Harlesden children’s playground closed over safety concerns

Action taken over potentionally dangerous space after the Times intervenes

A popular Harlesden playground has been forced to close amid fears for children’s safety.

The playground, next to Kier Hardy House, in Marian Way, was in such a bad state parents feared allowing their youngsters to play there.

It was only when the Times contacted Catalyst Housing Association (CHA), which maintains the space, that it was finally closed for safety reasons.

Peta Kennedy, whose four-year-old daughter Isla used the playground, said: “We want our children to have their local play area back. On a nice day you would get about 20 children in there every day after school.”

The playground is particularly popular with children on their home from nearby Leopold Primary School, in Hawkeshead Road.

However, in recent months the tarmac surface by the swings had been broken and two large holes appeared. Gravel and stones were scattered around the play surface while a roundabout was replaced with two slabs of concrete.

Most Read

Worried parents claim the entire area was in breach of health and safety rules.

Ms Kennedy, who lives in Harlesden Gardens, said: “We want CHA to give us its word that this will be repaired so our children can make the most of their play area.”

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), a children’s play area should be fully equipped with an impact-absorbing surface.

Mother-of-two, Maggie Szegedi-Fitzgibbon, who has a five-year-old daughter, Ella, and a 14-month-old baby, Zoe, branded the area a “disaster zone”.

She said: “God forbid if a child was to fall off the swings, because they could do serious damage.

“My baby can only crawl at the moment and with concrete and gravel there I have to keep a constant eye on her. We just want somewhere where our children can play and feel safe.”

Kelley Doak, a 42-year-old mother from St John’s Avenue, in Harlesden, said the playground was a social hub for the community.

She said: “We want the housing association to realise that these spaces are very important to us as well as our children.”

A spokesman for CHA said: “The community facilities are important; we are aiming to have the surface re-instated within the next few weeks.”