Kingston's 'abandoned' park where children's playground gets covered by 'green slime'

Tony Cooper, 68, at Green Lane Recreation Ground
-Credit: (Image: Charlotte Lillywhite)

A South London park has been described as 'abandoned' due to its condition, with a kids' playground that gets covered by 'green slime' when it floods. Green Lane Recreation Ground, in New Malden, is owned by Kingston Council and maintained by contractors Glendale.

Tony Cooper, 68, from Friends of Green Lane Recreation Ground, said he feels the park is considered last for improvements by the council, as he sees other green spaces receiving major upgrades first. While the council has recently built a new path and resurfaced another in the park, Mr Cooper told MyLondon it needs more investment and residents are particularly concerned about the state of the kids' playground.

He said the playground is prone to flooding in its current location, which leaves it covered in 'green slime' of algae, fungi and moss, and the ground is starting to break up. He added the edges of the playground are overgrown, the roundabout is broken and other play equipment is muddy and poorly-maintained. "It's falling into a state of disrepair and nobody seems to bother about doing anything about it," he added.

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The playground at Green Lane Recreation Ground, New Malden, Kingston
The playground in the corner of the park in New Malden -Credit:Charlotte Lillywhite

Mr Cooper, who previously worked for Hounslow and Merton councils, also raised concerns about a general lack of maintenance in the park - including overgrown plants covering benches and intruding on paths, the grass not being cut often enough, graffiti and an entrance gate not shutting. He said parts of the park are inaccessible for some disabled people as it does not have enough paths, while it lacks enough benches, high-quality picnic tables and proper access to the Hogsmill River running next to it.

He said: "Sometimes you find it very depressing coming in here, you just see everything overgrowing." Despite its name, the longtime New Malden resident also described there being no opportunities for recreation in the park.

The playground at Green Lane Recreation Ground, New Malden, Kingston
Cracked ground and a broken roundabout in the playground -Credit:Charlotte Lillywhite

Mr Cooper said: "I’m all for biodiversity and encouraging wildlife, but there’s so much of it in here that’s just left and the interesting thing, this is called Green Lane Recreation Ground, when I first started coming here, must be 30 years ago... there used to be two football pitches on a Sunday and a fully-maintained cricket square that was in the middle... none of that happens anymore."

He added: "I know there’s limited resources, I’ve worked in councils long enough to know about resources and councils, but it just looks abandoned and we always seem to come out at the bottom of the pile if there’s improvements being done in the parks."

An entrance sign at Green Lane Recreation Ground, New Malden, Kingston
Graffiti covering an entrance sign to the park -Credit:Charlotte Lillywhite

A Kingston Council spokesperson said: "As part of our ongoing work to improve and enhance our green spaces, we're investing £1.3million in our borough's parks which includes Green Lane Recreation Ground. We have undertaken some important improvements at the park over the last few months, these include a new pathway to improve access and refurbishing an existing path.

"We are aware that there is always more that can be done and more improvements around drainage and equipment are planned for the coming months. These are due to be completed by the end of March 2025. We are committed to maximise the wellbeing of our residents by providing better green spaces to support fulfilled lives." Glendale has been contacted for comment.

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