Battersea Park revamp protesters ordered to leave site
Protesters who have been camping in a playground in south London to stall planned refurbishment work have been ordered by a court to leave the site.
Wandsworth Against Cuts does not want Battersea Park Adventure Playground to be demolished. Its activists have been sleeping there since 5 January.
The council plans to open the revamped £200,000 playground for Easter but said the protest is delaying the work.
An eviction order has been granted but protesters are yet to receive a notice.
Colin Crilly, spokesman for Wandsworth Against Cuts (WAC), said people camping in the playground, including members from Occupy London protest group, have always wanted the demonstration to be peaceful.
He said they will make a decision about leaving after they get the notice.
"The process has been peaceful so far and WAC prefers a peaceful ending to the protest," he said.
"If Wandsworth Council insists on pushing ahead with the demolition then people of the borough will never forgive them for it. The playground is more than 60 years old."
He added the group will be looking into whether they could legally challenge the refurbishment plans, which, the WAC said, 86% of residents voted against during a consultation.
The campaigners claim the adventure park, which includes a climbing wall, helps keep teenagers off the streets.
Protesters also raised concerns that the new playground will not have any staff, leaving children unsupervised.
Wandsworth Council said 92% of children using the playground are aged 12 and below and most of them are accompanied by adults.
The council added the new play area will be open for longer and will include rope swings, chain ladders, aerial walkways, tube slides, scramble nets, zip wires and fireman's poles, which do not need supervision by staff meaning three workers could be made redundant saving £386,000.
The authority's children's services spokesman Councillor Kathy Tracey said: "I am pleased that the judge has granted us this eviction order and we can now take steps to bring this unlawful and unauthorised occupation to an end.
"I hope that the squatters will now cease their selfish and self-centred occupation and move on."