Islington is one of the most densely populated boroughs in the country and has the 2nd least greenspace. With increasing pressure on playable space, the Islington Play Association needed to find a way of permanently protecting Islington’s adventure playgrounds from sale or development.
In May 2010 the IPA started to explore interest in the local community for establishing a land trust for play. We set out to raise awareness with a series of events including the December 2010 ‘postcard protest’ with over 500 postcards from local children displayed in the town hall and then in 2011 a ‘March for play’, and ‘Get together for play’ saw children and families celebrate their adventure playgrounds.
IPA explored the idea of establishing a ‘deed of dedication’ for the adventure playgrounds ensuring the land would be legally protected from sale or development. The proposal was agreed in May 2012 and in September all 12 adventure playground sites were dedicated through the Fields in Trust QEII Challenge.
Political support was fundamental and interest from MPs such as Lord Smith of Finsbury ensured the idea was taken seriously. The whole process needed strong commitment from Islington council and the IPA, who were supported by the City Bridge Trust to do the work needed and get legal advice.
In June 2012 Islington council wrote to us to thank us for our work on securing the land for adventure play and for putting the issue firmly on the agenda our campaigning persuaded the council to agree to ‘secure the land for children’s play in perpetuity’. The outcome is that the land is protected through a deed of dedication. Any attempt to use the land for something else would need to be negotiated with Fields in Trust and the adventure playground would need to be replaced with an alternative of at least equivalent size, quality and accessibility and servicing the same community.