Wimbledon Park's interactive water feature has been open since the end of May but the one at the Tamworth Rec (Mitcham) won't open 'til 18 July -AIBU to think that Merton is a borough in two halves?

(10 Posts)
HaydonWomble Wed 01-Jul-15 19:39:35

I've always been a political person and hate social injustice. Being on Mumsnet (including Local) often makes me see red not least because there is so clearly a class divide twixt the 'haves' and 'have-nots' sometimes directly 'visible' in talk threads but often thro' observations aimed at those not part of the online 'chattering classes' Mumsnet tribe! Living in Merton sometimes just reinforces my viewpoint...

Surfing the Mumsnet Merton FB page earlier on today, I was disgusted but not unsurprised to see that affluent Wimbledon Park, surrounded by properties worth £1 million+ (many with gardens large enough for swimming pools if not large paddling pools), has its fun and refreshing interactive water feature now open, wheareas in less glam Mitcham (where there is significant social deprivation in some parts) and where many families don't even have gardens, the borough's other such attraction - in the Tamworth Rec - won't be open until 18th July. What is the thinking behind that? If there is any social justice in the world, it should be the other way round or in an ideal world but should have opened for the summer season at the same time?

Am I just reading too much into this (as a die-hard class warrior) or does it smack of the borough's usual nod to the affluent at the expense of the less well-off?

If you'd like to see a common sense and fair approach to Merton's water play areas' summer openings, please support the Open Tamworth Paddling Pool Campaign.

Sorry having a bit of a Citizen 'Wolfie' Smith Tooting Popular Front moment but in Merton rather than Wandsworthwink

lustylover2 Thu 02-Jul-15 08:25:26

No you're right (cue all the parents that live in Wimbledon park saying it's not so). I live down by Morden and it seems to be forgotten whilst money is spent elsewhere in the Borough.

09nicolad Thu 02-Jul-15 13:11:25

I believe the splash park in Wimbledon Park was paid for/is maintained by a 'private donation'. In other words, it's not council-funded and so they can 'afford' to keep it open for longer. Perhaps that's not the case with Tamworth? I nod to all your sentiments, but with borough-wide council service cutbacks, I imagine there's cost implications as these pools can't be cheap to run/service/maintain. If this is the case, maybe somebody could sponsor it so it could stay open for longer? Estate agents, loft/extension firms and all those other companies that are forever sponsoring school fair's might like the idea?! Just a thought...

09nicolad Thu 02-Jul-15 13:12:04

And, no, I don't live in Wimbledon Park!

lustylover2 Thu 02-Jul-15 16:26:46

"maybe somebody could sponsor it so it could stay open for longer? Estate agents, loft/extension firms and all those other companies that are forever sponsoring school fair's might like the idea?! Just a thought..."

I like that idea

Willemdefoeismine Thu 02-Jul-15 22:53:11

lustylover2 that sounds a great idea....It's interesting nevertheless that affluent Wimbledon Park has a private benefactor and Tamworth Rec doesn't - still reinforces OP's prejudice? Why support one and not the other?

09nicolad Fri 03-Jul-15 15:27:13

I imagine one having a private benefactor - say somebody left something in their will - isn't anything to do with prejudice. More likely they just live/d near Wimbledon Park! Just like people donate park benches - it's because they have a personal attachment to a place. And I must be honest that I'm not sure the prejudice issue is helpful to the bigger - and much more positive issue - of getting Tamworth Rec operating for longer. Councils aren't perfect, but I'm sure they make decisions based on their budgets not on how much Foxtons like an area. And when you think about it, there are lots of examples where there clearly isn't a 'rich bias'. Take Wimbledon Village. They don't have one single playground (unless I'm missing something) and have to travel to Raynes Park or Wimbledon Park for their swing/slide action! Yes, they have the Common, but if you live in 3/4 of a mile of it, you have to pay a hefty levy on top of your council tax for the privilege. And no, I don't live in the Village either!

LocalEditorMerton Fri 03-Jul-15 16:08:48

Hi ladies

This is an interesting debate! I can understand OP's natural inclination to see 'a borough in two halves' in this park water feature debacle but scratch the surface and there's more to it, I would say.

O9nicolad you are probably onto something surmising that the private benefactor has some personal attachment to Wimbledon Park and possibly more so to the children's playground...

I guess Wimbledon Park (albeit not on such a grandiose scale) is rather like Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park - it is a magnet to families all over SW London as KG/HP is to families in Central/West London. And with the best will in the world, Tamworth Rec, situated and visible to busy London Road (opposite Figges Marsh), is not in the same league.

But taking on board, OPs comment on family social deprivation in Merton, you may be interested in these stats for Wimbledon and Mitcham&Morden (the two maps cover all of Merton from what I can see).

2FatLadied Sun 05-Jul-15 10:58:43

I heard (could be wrong, was a random mum at the swings) that the Wimbledon Park water play was funded anonymously by the family of a child who died. I'm sure a family in that end of the borough is more likely to be able to fund such a thing and agree it's not fair, but equally if I were Merton council I wouldn't have refused the donation.

I do know that it used to only be switched on in the school summer holidays and there was a whole campaign to get the time extended.

MajorClanger63 Mon 06-Jul-15 10:27:08

if this water park has been funded anonymously then that is a sincerely wonderful gesture and I am all in favour of that. However what this does highlight in a way, as you say, is the inequality that existed before the water park. Now being pragmatic I am sure the council look at their areas and put funding into facilities that will be used, such as libraries. Every year the council look at their budget and see what they need to cut and every year it's the usual suspects Libraries, meals on wheels etc You also have to look at what would be politically disastrous as every council wants to stay in power not be known as the council that shut St Georges, closed down Ponders End library, changed the bin collection to fortnightly and so on. So they prioritise as you have to. Now in an ideal world they'd say 'We will open a fantastic play area in Morden with working toilet facilities and a first aider on call but to do this we will cut back on what we are prepared to pay out on housing benefit (which is going to private landlords anyway) and also up the Council tax across the whole borough to fund it. Now I for one would gladly pay extra council tax but they'd lose a hell of a lot of votes elsewhere as everyone wants something for nothing OR doesn't see why they should fork out for kids on free school meals in Ponders end to have somewhere to smoke their fags when the park gates are shut.

I would imagine.

Now notice also there was a campaign in Wimbledon as of course people there are organised and stand up to be counted. Unfortunately other areas do not have a 'Don't you know who I am' mentality so if you want things to change in Mitcham and Morden then start a campaign. I'd happily add my voice to it, write to the press, sign a petition etc

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now