Following a public meeting on Monday,Thurlow Parl Counillors have issued the following statement outlining theirs views on the Festival Proposals......
Yesterday evening Thurlow Park’s Labour councillors hosted a public meeting to listen to the views and concerns of local residents on possible events in Brockwell Park. Since Lovebox and Field Day, two major events organisers, announced that they were applying to move their festivals to Brockwell Park in 2018, this is just one of the ways we have been listening to residents and seeking feedback – we have also heard from over 100 of you by email, engaged with groups and individuals on social media, doorknocked locally, and met with parks groups and local resident associations.
No decision has been taken on the applications submitted by Lovebox and Field Day, and we wanted to ensure that our residents’ views help to shape the way we challenge and scrutinise these applications.
Events in our parks are part of a difficult balancing act – since the Tory Government cut Lambeth’s funding by over 50%, our parks need income in order to keep them maintained and looked after. However, large events have a major impact on local residents and on the fabric of the park – in terms of noise, disruption to transport, a large part of the park fenced off for a significant period of the summer, anti-social behaviour, loss of income for local traders, and the sheer volume of people coming and going. Brockwell Park is such a vital part of our community that any decision as to its future has to be taken very carefully.
Until Brockwell Hall is refurbished and able to host such events as weddings and conferences that would bring in sufficient income for the park, we understand the need for some events to keep the park usable for everyone the rest of the year round. However, we have some red lines on their scale and impact, which we developed after listening to the concerns of residents.
We believe applications from event organisers should meet these criteria:
- 40,000 people, as proposed by Lovebox and Field Day, is too big for a park the size of Brockwell. We believe around 25,000 people per-day should be the ceiling for large commercial events in the park.
- Outsized or large events which involve more than 20,000 people per day over multiple days must be limited to one a year. There simply isn’t the scope alongside hosting the Country Show to have more than one major commercial event and keep the park running for all users to enjoy.
- Set-up and pack-down times must be kept to a minimum. The current proposals from Lovebox and Field day shut off a significant portion of the park for many weeks over the summer – this is unacceptable. Event days and set up and set down days are the same thing for many park users who are blocked from their regular use of the park.
- The ‘footprint’ of the event must be limited and the days the park is fenced off must be kept to a minimum.
- Any commercial event in Brockwell Park should be an accredited London Living Wage employer, and should make this a condition in their contracts and sub-contracts.
- Commercial events organisers should have a local procurement strategy – councillors and the local community should have a key role in designing this strategy and an ongoing role in monitoring its implementation.
- Event organisers should have a robust and detailed local travel plan that takes into account not only Brixton tube station, but Tulse Hill and Herne Hill stations, local buses, parking and pedestrian congestion.
- On top of paying for additional policing, commercial event organisers should have visible security staff in surrounding streets to prevent anti-social behaviour.
- The wellbeing of local residents should be at the heart of any event organiser’s event planning and delivery. There should be a dedicated number for residents to call and a quick response time to any issues raised such as excessive noise.
- As well as paying for the clear-up in the park afterwards, events organisers should be responsible for clear-up outside the park’s fences too – from littering, anti-social behaviour and damage to property.
- Any commercial event organisers coming to Brockwell Park must provide high quality apprenticeships to local young people. The number of apprenticeships should be proportional to the size of the event.
As it currently stands, neither event meets our criteria, so we oppose either application being progressed unless they are prepared to make significant changes to their events.
From what we understand to date, Lovebox have not yet made any indication they are willing to reduce the size of their event, and have refused our request to stop selling tickets until their application has been progressed. For this reason, we do not currently think Lovebox should come to Brockwell Park.
Field Day have suggested that they are open to making some changes to their application and we are open to working with to see if something can be delivered that works for the park.
We also believe that it is not appropriate to offer multi-year deals to new events. As we saw with Sunfall, some event companies promise one thing but fail to deliver, causing disruption and damage. We think an annual review of applications allows councillors and the community the opportunity to reject event organisers who have proven themselves to be irresponsible.
In assessing these applications, we have identified some areas where Lambeth’s event strategy may need benefit from a refresh – for example, it currently only talks about event days and does not take into account how long it takes companies to set up and pack down their stages and equipment. We think this is an opportunity to involve experts and members of the community to address issues like access to the park, event footprints and duration, an upper limit on volume of people, noise, anti-social behaviour and other local impacts.
We also believe it is an opportunity for a transparent discussion about park finances and the need for investment, and to develop a stronger commercial offer which adds greater value to our local community in the future for events wanting to come to Brockwell Park.