Wandsworth Council has denied a request for a playground at a homeless shelter in Tooting.

Of the homeless families housed in Nightingale Square, 59 out of 80 signed a petition asking for some play facilities to be installed.

The petition read: "There are 113 children in Nightingale Square hostel and the parents and children need an area outside for children to play in safely.

"We don’t have gardens and our children need somewhere to be more active and play together.

"We urge our councillors and council to renovate the disused tarmac area in the middle of the hostel into a play area."

The hostel is home to 68 children under five.

The council argued that residents at the site were "temporary" and since a lot of children in the hostel would want to use the playground "it could lead to disagreements".

A spokesperson for Wandsworth Council said: "We gave this request very careful consideration but concluded that this site was just too small and too close to other residential buildings to be suitable for a playground.

"We may also need the land to provide additional temporary accommodation for other homeless families in the future so sadly this proposal could not proceed."

"We are fortunate in Wandsworth in that we have more than 180 playgrounds and play areas spread out across the borough so families in Nightingale Square have some excellent alternatives to use, as well as the playgrounds and wide open spaces of Clapham Common and Wandsworth common which are both just a short walk away."

Candida Jones, a Labour member of the Housing Committee, said: "The need for some basic facilities at this site has been apparent for years. 

"Even when housing is defined as "temporary", many families stay in homeless hostels for two years or more in the borough.

"These families are among the most vulnerable in Wandsworth and they deserve at least the same standards of housing that Council tenants enjoy.

"I'm not sure what to make of the argument that we shouldn't build a playground because lots of children might want to use it".

She added: "I’m pretty sure residents at the hostel, and in nearby houses, would prefer to have a playground on this small site rather than more modular housing shoe-horned into an already densely-populated and under-served site." 

The Council currently has £311 million in reserves and the estimated cost of the playground is £40,000.

One of the residents of the square, Svetlana Delfonceva said: "All we are asking for is a reasonable basic provision.

"Without facilities the playground is dangerous and the children are bored and frustrated.

"I have no car and with a buggy it takes me 45-50 minutes to get to the playground on Wandsworth Common. I can’t afford to take a bus."