The forum for Brockwell Park stakeholder groups and users has accepted Lambeth council plans for a single month of major events in the park, but warned against other plans that could jeopardise the sustainability of a refurbished Brockwell Hall.
A well attended meeting of Brockwell Park Community Partners (BPCP) considered the most recent revision of the council’s Event Lambeth plans for events in the park which have attracted local opposition.
BPCP will present its views to the Brockwell Park Partnership Board.
The partnership board was set up by agreement with the council so that the views of park users and local elected councillors can be considered formally in all strategic decisions about the park.
It consists of two community representatives, two local councillors and two senior council officers.
BPCP said the meeting was an opportunity for park stakeholders to exert some control over the range and frequency of events and to establish a policy for five years, which would prevent new initiatives from being imposed ad hoc by Event Lambeth during that period.
The first message for the Partnership Board was that BPCP is concerned Lambeth council events in the park should not compromise the business plan to make the restored Brockwell Hall sustainable. It is due to be open and running at the end of 2023.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has granted £3.3m to restore the hall based on a plan to make it sustainable by hosting income-generating events.
These would include weddings, personal celebrations, small markets, community events and pop-up bars which would be supervised by the Hall management.
There is a council proposal to licence the whole park for weddings.
This would compete directly with Brockwell Hall as a wedding venue, as well as generating problems of control and supervision, noise, litter and vehicle use, BPCP warned.
Its second significant decision was to accept Lambeth council’s proposals for a single month of major events: one event consisting of six event days, and two Lambeth Country Show days, with an option to hold an additional large event to help fund the Lambeth Country Show.
The 2019 show cost the council £642,872 – an expenditure of more than £1m, balanced income of just under £400,000.
During one month the park will host the summer events back-to-back on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, not exceeding three consecutive weekends.
The BPCP was not in favour of an additional event to fund the show.
BPCP accepted that this plan would reduce time spent setting up and de-rigging (the same “envelope” would be used for all events) and minimise disruption for park users.
Outside of this period – in June or September – there would be no other large summer events and nothing in the school holidays.
BPCP also decided that it was not in favour of a long-running Winter Lights event like the one at Kew Gardens in West London, but accepted two winter events, with details to be discussed and decided at the partnership board.
The BPCP meeting also discussed other topics including funfairs and circuses, running events, community and charity events and personal celebrations.