Councillors have unanimously decided to move forward with plans to remove staff and replace equipment at Battersea Park Adventure Playground.

At last Wednesday's meeting of the education and children's services scrutiny committee, councillors voted to consult on replacing the current structures with "commercially manufactured adventurous equipment to the latest safety standard" and "remove the need for staff".

The council argues that the changes will save £130,000 a year from the current £225,000 cost of the playground and would also allow it to stay open for longer.

Councillors decided to ditch an alternative proposal to explore private investment at the site.

Councillor Kathy Tracey, Children’s services spokesman, said: “In drawing up these proposals our aim from the outset was to find a way of continuing to provide an exciting and challenging adventure playground that would remain popular and attractive to young people."

The plan has been savaged by play groups such as London Play and PlayEngland who are concerned about the lack of risk and excitement provided by the proposed equipment which they fear will not allow kids to explore their capabilities.

Cath Prisk, director of PlayEngland, said: "Adventure playgrounds have staff. They have added risk and allow children the wild spaces and freedom they need to roam so they can work out their limitations and learn social skills."

Two weeks ago, the council announced it had found £200,000 to create a "new look" adventure playground with new equipment that would not require staffing.

The surprise announcement masked a significant turn-around for the council which last summer controversially announced plans to introduce admission fees at the park. Following a storm of opposition it went back to the drawing board.