Bexley Council is spending more on playgrounds amdist a national trend of authorites selling off their assets. 

Government austerity was recently blamed for causing a “great British land sale” revealed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

It was reported that Bexley Council made a whopping £10m from selling assets including a swimming pool and day centres – but new data shows playgrounds have been protected from developers.

An FOI has revealed that the council has managed 34 playgrounds for the last ten years, with none being closed.

This is despite controversial development plans for green space at Old Farm Park in Sidcup which caused a backlash with neighbours.

Figures obtained by the LDR service show that the council is spending nearly 30 per cent more on its playgrounds than it was ten years ago.

Councillor Peter Craske, cabinet member for places, said that despite pressure to save cash, the council has continued to pump cash into playgrounds.

He said: “Despite the fact Bexley has had to save £120 million over this period, total spending on our fantastic playgrounds has increased by 28 per cent since 2012.

“On top of that we have opened Belvedere Beach, Bexley’s first ever playground especially designed for children with special needs and disabilities, and we are currently working on plans for our second accessible to all playground at Hall Place.

“Our playgrounds are very popular with residents, each averaging 120,000 visitors a year while also being exceptional value for money, costing an average of £8,000 a year to maintain.

“They are also inspected every single day to make sure they are in good working order. They are one of the things that make Bexley such a great place.”

Research by the Bureau for Investigative Journalism and HuffPost UK found that nine years of government cuts to councils has resulted in swathes of land sell-offs.

Councils were found to be selling historic buildings, scraps of green space or playgrounds and youth centres.

In many cases the sales of playing fields, community centres, libraries, and youth clubs were to fund redundancies made necessary by central government cuts.

Speaking to the BOIJ, Khalid Mahmood, MP for Perry Barr in Birmingham, said: “We should never have been selling the land that we have inherited from our forefathers…] It just takes the future away from our children and grandchildren to come and that is really devastating.”