Our view on major events in Brockwell Park

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.

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.

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
    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
    , and should make this a condition in their contracts and
  • 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.


Come to a public exhibition on the future of Carnegie Library

In March, Carnegie Library was temporarily closed for refurbishment. As well as the existing neighbourhood library, empty spaces like the basement will be refitted to include a community hub, a gym and community spaces.

Lambeth has been drawing up plans for what this might look like – on the 21st and 22nd June there will be public exhibitions to view and comments on the proposals, meet councillors, officers and GLL, who would run the gym facility.

Update on Lambeth Libraries – Nettlefold and Carnegie

We hugely value library services – as a space to borrow books, to study, to take part in activities, to create the space for communities to come together and to provide information.

Many residents will be aware that we have proposed some changes to how Lambeth continue to provide this service. The proposals for change are entirely born of the financial situation imposed on us by central government which have seen a 56% cut in our funding since 2010. The next round of cuts – around £60m over the two years 201718 and 201819 – is already upon us and we have only just begun to think about where we can find additional savings from across the council’s budget. The Government’s budget last week signaled yet further cuts in the future.

Locally, residents in Thurlow Park mainly use two libraries – in West Norwood our town centre library is being refurbished in partnership with Picturehouse to create a brand new library and a new cinema. 

In Herne Hill our local library is Carnegie. We are aware that some residents are concerned about Carnegie Library’s future. The council have been working for the past 3-4 years on plans to transfer the Carnegie building to community ownership. The plan is to create community activity, generate income, unlock new investment and thereby to ensure we can keep a library open which has an income base from which to provide a good quality offer to local residents. 

A very similar thing was done with Brockwell Lido (in which the community regenerated a council asset) some years ago to the benefit of the whole community. The key difference being that the library service will of course remain free.

The community transfer plan stays on track. The Carnegie Community Trust have been working very hard on future investment plans for the building. In the mean time we need to press on with plans that ensure there is still a library there after the start of April when the budgets are due to drop out. 

After a period in which the building will be closed to reconfigure the space (which we hope will be as short as possible) it will re-open as a neighbourhood library with the same book stock, with community and study space, staffing in the building and librarians running events on a regular basis alongside other uses including a healthy living centre run by GLL, Lambeth’s social enterprise leisure partner. Local community and other groups will be a key part of the mix. The hours of opening should be longer than the current 31 hours per week. 

Some local campaigns have sought to depict plans as a small shelf of books in a corner of a gym – this could not be further from the truth. The difficult financial circumstances which have been imposed on local government have forced us to make some difficult compromises, but underpinned by our values we want to protect the beautiful Carnegie building, and the space and services it provides to many. 

The council did receive alternative plans to make the savings via a staff mutual, which was independently assessed but did not stack up financially. Without a partnership and some compromise, we risk losing the library altogether, and we are pleased that Lambeth Labour councillors have been able to develop a plan which keeps this important asset and service in the community now and in the long term.

We have spoken to many residents around Thurlow Park about the plans over the past 6-9 months, most understand very well the difficult predicament government cuts have placed us in. They are generally supportive of plans to ensure that the library service at the Carnegie is as good as it possibly can be under circumstances which they know we have campaigned very hard to try to avoid.