As Lambeth council’s cabinet prepares to discuss tonight (11 July) detailed plans for future events in the borough’s parks, concern about the impact of current and future events is growing.
Both Friends of Brockwell Park (FOBP) and the Conservative opposition group on the council have expressed concern. And the weekend Sunfall event in Brockwell Park brought a new round of complaints about noise and disruption.
Local residents said the noise had made their houses shake and that the park “had been trashed again” and urged anyone who had been affected to contact Lambeth Events.
The new strategy suggests an increase in the permitted sound level for events.
Areas of Brockwell Park were damaged as a result of the Found Festival in June and the Sunfall festival was moved to another area of the park as a result.
The Lambeth country show takes place in the park over next Saturday and Sunday (16 and 17 July).
In a detailed response to the council’s planned events strategy for 2016 to 2020 [PDF download], FOBP has said that, while it welcomes the idea of such a strategy and appreciates the work of lead cabinet member Jack Hopkins in consulting interested groups, it has a number of concerns.
- The need for any events strategy to make sure that parks continue to provide “a haven of peace and green”.
- The failure of the strategy to mention “ecology” or “environment”.
- The need for “greater financial transparency” around funding for parks and the strategy’s proposed “parks investment levy”. Transparency had been promised in the past, but had not materialise, said FOBP, which urged a rethink of cuts to the council’s parks budget.
- Commenting on plans for “community involvement” in the strategy, FOBP said it had only a week to respond to the major document. It was experience of the Friends, and organisations like it, that “either London Borough of Lambeth does not consult them, or if it does, ignores such advice”.
- FOBP said that the strategy’s plan for eight major “commercial event days” per park “appears to have been chosen only to meet financial targets”. It added that the “build-up and break-down” time for an event could be as much as seven days – meaning a park could have limited access for up to 56 days during three summer months.
- FOBP said that: “We do not believe the chief function of a public park is to raise money.” But it concluded: “We welcome this attempt to put events in Lambeth on a strategic footing for five years. We look forward to working with the council’s elected representatives and officers to get the best deal long term for the Park we all love.”
Download FOBP’s full response [Word document].
The Conservative motion for the full council on Wednesday seeks agreement that “there should be no increase in the volume, frequency and length of music events” in Lambeth parks.
It also says that “given the views of a large number of concerned and angry residents towards its events strategy”, the council should ensure that at least one third of all revenue taken from events is reinvested in the space where it was held and that all residents’ opinions are taken in to account when considering the length, volume and frequency of all events.
An amendment to the motion to be moved by Cllr Hopkins notes Lambeth’s record as “one of the only boroughs in London that gives back to local parks” and says the proposed strategy includes “strengthened governance arrangements” to ensure residents’ opinions are taken into account.
The cabinet meeting tonight is at 7pm in the Karibu Education Centre, 7 Gresham Road, SW9 7PH.
The full council meeting on Wednesday is at 7pm in Elm Green School, Elmcourt Road, West Norwood, SE27 9BZ.