COMMENT: Cllr Rachel Heywood on Lambeth Country Show

By cllr Rachel Heywood, Labour council cabinet member for communities and community safety 

I’d like to set the record straight about what is happening with the Lambeth Country Show as I know there are a number of different stories in circulation at the moment.

As a Brixton resident the Country Show weekend is always one of the highlights of my summer, and I’m proud that Lambeth hosts London’s biggest (and best) free outdoor festival.

As Lambeth’s cabinet member for communities and community Safety one of my main interests is in ensuring that everyone is able to enjoy this family and community event in safety, and this is something which I discussed with the previous borough commander ch supt Nick Ephgrave last year.

Police advice says that there is real concern about security in holding an event of this scale in such close proximity to the Olympics when there will be other calls on police officers and when there is a heightened risk of terrorism across the capital – this advice has informed our decision to cancel the Country Show in its usual format for this year only.  We promise that the show will be back better than ever in 2013 and the discussions with all the charity, community and commercial groups will begin in September.

However, we know how important the Country Show is to many residents, as demonstrated by the numbers of people who have signed the Brixton Blog and Bugle petition and it remains a priority for the Council. For that reason, we have decided to make a fund available for community groups to hold alternative, smaller-scale events across the borough for this year only.  One of those could well be a scaled-down Country Show-style event in Brockwell Park, perhaps later in the year, and my colleagues and I hope that we can work together to make this happen.