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Campaigner’s heartbreak at Belvedere splash park decision

PUBLISHED: 16:08 23 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:08 23 February 2016

Belvedere Splash Park

Belvedere Splash Park

Archant

The park will be reopened as a play park

A campaigner who fought to keep Belvedere splash park open has criticised Bexley Council plans to reopen the grounds as a play park.

This week, Bexley Council decided to reopen the former splash park as a play park with an area provided for disabled children.

But campaigner Faye Ockelford, who fought for more than a year to keep the splash park open has criticised the announcement.

She said: “It smacks of hypocrisy; the splash park was inclusive for children of all abilities.

“The council saying ‘the park is for disabled children’ comes across as segregation.

“They have taken a facility that provided for all children including those with mental and physical disabilities and now they’re going to replace it with a play park with its own area for those children.

“In normal play parks you can see divisions in groups of children, but water sets them free.

“I’m heartbroken, for the sake of £20,000 they shut down 100 years of history.”

The pregnant mother-of-one said families have lost a social hotspot.

She said: “The park was a great place to meet other parents and for only children to get a chance to get outside and meet other children.

“There aren’t many parks for families to get out to; this is just the council’s plan for the north of the borough for us just to be roads and housing.”

The council had offered the park be run by local businesses, but claimed it had failed to fit a suitable bidder to renovate the park.

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