Friends of Brockwell Park (FoBP) today (27 November) expresses outrage at Lambeth council plans to exclude local people from “significant parts” of Brockwell Park for 46 days in 2021.
The charity says plans for three major events will turn the park into “a venue for making money” and ignore its role as a haven for local people.
It also warns that the events would have a significant adverse impact on the park’s wildlife, ecology and physical infrastructure, especially if it rains.
Whether the planned events take place will depend on government regulations to tackle the pandemic that are in place at the time.
The Friends say commercial events including Mighty Hoopla will be using large areas of the park for 26 days, with six actual event days planned to attract 150,000 visitors in June.
Lambeth Country Show, with 14 days in the park and two major event days and 120,000 visitors expected, would take place in July’
A ‘Climate Live’ event would have six days in the park with one major event day at an unspecified date attracting 50,000 people.
FoBP said Brockwell Park has never been so busy as during the pandemic, with thousands of people coming to it daily for their wellbeing.
“Yet,” it says, “Lambeth council proposes to shut swathes of the park to them all for two-thirds of June and July 2021 – the height of summer.
Expressing “serious concern” about the council’s Events Strategy 2020–2025, FoBP said the previous strategy limited the number of major events in Brockwell Park to eight and that FOBP had been given to understand that there would be fewer major events.
“However,” says FoBP, “the new strategy sets no limits”.
FOBP chair Peter Bradley accused the council of acting in in bad faith. “It has gone backwards on events. We were deceived,” he said.
As well as major walled events, FoBP said the council was proposing that multiple “non-grassed, hard-standing” areas across its parks should be made available for “smaller events”.
“Brockwell Park already hosts many events, and the Friends feel it shouldn’t have to host more,” said Bradley.
“The council is taking the public realm and making it private. This is not our vision for the future of Brockwell Park. We call on councillors to reject these events.”
FOBP is asking people to contact their local councillors by 8 December regarding overuse of the park by major events.
Councillors’ details can be found at www.writetothem.com.
FoBP asked anyone contacting their councillors to copy in FOBP: firstname.lastname@example.org, and the council team in charge at email@example.com.
I’m all for parks as peaceful havens but realistically they cost a lot to upkeep (well) and the Council has a limited budget with other vital services (child and adult social care, housing etc.) having to take priority. In the Tory austerity world all local authorities need to maximise revenue. And the park is large enough to host events whilst leaving areas open for residents to enjoy. Sadly, you can’t have it all. And I’m sure the Friends are lovely people, but did anyone else notice a distinct lack of diversity in that photo? Hardly representative of the local community.
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