Edward Mandla
IN THE MEDIA
New playground looks like ‘toddler detention centre’: Residents

Published On: 03/06/2016

DARLINGHURST residents have likened a new playground to Long Bay jail and have complained it looks different to the design originally approved by the City of Sydney.

Residents said they were “horrified” over the construction of a “super-max” brick wall around the playground, which fronts Berwick Lane and is part of a 60-place childcare centre set to open next month (July) at 277 Bourke St.

Original concept images showed the presence of a metal fence and a small retaining wall but not the high brick wall.Sydney Liberal councillor Edward Mandla said the playground had been “redesigned by lawyers and overzealous engineers, without telling the community, to resemble a toddler detention centre”.

“Through a lack of common sense, the City of Sydney is destroying a charming back lane and creating a playground that will give kids nightmares,” Cr Mandla said.

Resident Lawrence Gibbons said building a massive brick wall behind a tall metal fence was “completely unsympathetic” to the area, which was steeped in heritage.A City of Sydney spokeswoman said the $12m centre was “consistent with the original development application proposal”.

CHILDCARE CRISIS

“The brick wall behind the perimeter fence around the centre’s outdoor play area is required as a condition of planning approval to reduce noise impacts on nearby properties,” she said.

“Landscaping in front of the wall will help present an attractive street frontage.”

She said construction of a new pocket park and community garden opposite the childcare centre on Palmer St would begin in the second half of this year.

CHILDCARE WITH A VIEW

“Following community requests, the City is proposing to increase the play equipment in the park,” she said.

Mr Gibbons questioned whether this was necessary, given the council was currently replacing equipment a block away at the Albert Sloss Reserve.

“In all the time the equipment was there, it was rare to see more than a few children ever using the playground,” he said.

Mr Gibbons said the council should “come clean” if its “real intention” is to expand the new playground into the pocket park.

New playground looks like ‘toddler detention centre’: Residents

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