There are many ways in which adults control children and young people’s use and experiences of the external environment and public spaces in England’s town and cities. Woolley has suggested that for skateboarders these adult controls are social, legal and physical (Woolley, 2006). For other young people the privatisation of public spaces can be seen as an ultimate expression of all three of these aspects of adult control. In England, for children who like to play in, explore and experience the outdoor environment one of the most significant forms of adult physical control is the way in which ‘playgrounds’ have been designed and implemented for a period of forty or so years. Such spaces have been described as comprising of a Kit of equipment, with a Fence – initially to keep the dogs out but increasingly to keep the children in – and a Carpet of tarmac, or rubber ‘safety’ surfacing – these can be known as KFC playgrounds (Woolley, 2007). This approach to the design of ‘playgrounds’ has continued, despite the evidence that contact with and experience of ‘natural’ elements, such as landform, vegetation, water, sand and loose parts is good for children. So there are questions to be asked as to why this adult form of control, which is expressed in the manner in which playgrounds in public spaces have been designed, exists and what drives this approach. This presentation will address some of these questions and discuss possible reasons.