The Woodland Trust, Helen Hayes MP and the Friends of Brockwell Park organised a tree planting event in Brockwell Park. Cllrs Fred and Peter had a great time helping to plant the trees.
Since Lovebox and Field Day made applications to Lambeth last autumn to hold events in Brockwell Park, we have been working hard to ensure residents’ views are listened to. We have knocked on doors in the local area, worked closely with community and park
groups, and organised a public meeting last December to consult Thurlow Park
Reflecting on what you told us, we established some conditions which we felt large events in Brockwell Park ought to meet – these are set out on our blog here.
In January we were able to successfully push for Lovebox to be turned down as we did not feel that they met our conditions and they were not showing willingness to compromise on their plans.
In March, again reflecting what you have told us, we objected to Field Day being granted a licence unless certain strict conditions were met. Our submission to the Licensing Committee called for shorter opening hours, reduced noise levels and a better-managed exit from the park, in recognition of the fact there was going to be a lot of disruption to local area and that people such as shift workers and children doing their GCSE exams needed better protection.
We fought your case hard and spoke on residents’ behalf at the Licensing Committee hearing. The level of scrutiny of the organisers and the number of residents who spoke meant the hearing went on until midnight.
Cllr Fred Cowell speaking at the Licensing Committee hearing
After a further five days deliberation, the Licensing Committee have decided to award Field Day a one year licence to hold the event in Brockwell Park, subject to certain
conditions. You can view the full decision on Lambeth’s licensing site.
Our views of the decision are:
- We had a degree of success in securing an enhanced security plan that is far in excess of anything at previous events in the park.
- We are disappointed that the hours have not been reduced as significantly as we asked for, but were able to secure a partial reduction in opening times on Friday and Saturday and a fuller reduction on Sunday evening so that alcohol sales end at 9pm and music will end at 9.30pm.
- Most importantly the licence is for this year only and we have secured a post-festival consultation at which we will review how it went and, if necessary, block it from ever coming to the park again.
Outside of the licensing process, we have secured a commitment to review the parks events policy later this year, including looking at a cap on overall numbers at events and a trigger for public consultation, which would affect any event applications for 2019.
In the short term events provide a means of managing the vast funding shortfall that parks are facing as a result of the huge cuts to local authority grants imposed by the
Tory government. In the medium to long term, we want to move away from music festivals as a source of income and are working with park groups and the Council on a project to redevelop Brockwell Hall to allow it to be used for weddings. Brockwell Park is at the very heart of our community and we remain committed to safeguarding it with tangible action not empty promises.
Brockwell Park has been holding a number of different events recently, ranging from dance festivals to fun runs. We know from speaking to residents who often enjoy going to these events, that ensuring they are well run, not unduly disruptive and that the park is kept tidy is very important to them.
We have been doing a lot of work with the Brockwell Park Community Partners and Park officers to try and improve the way these events work in the park, and in terms of the impact they have on local users.
One area where there has been considerable concern is the amount of rubbish in the park which significantly escalates during and after events but also when the weather is warm on weekends leading to overflowing bins.
We have continued to work with officers to help secure extra resources between April and September to better manage the increase in litter. This includes weekend litter picks and dustcarts around the park, larger bins to absorb the increased waste at key points and new mechanised sweepers. This should hopefully keep the park clean for residents to enjoy the sunshine.
As a Council we face huge financial challenges. The Government has cut our funding by over 56% since 2010 and this has meant that the parks budget has reduced.
However, our priority has been to manage this challenge in a way that minimises the impact on parks users. We have cut back office costs, brought the maintenance service in-house and introduced a ‘Parks Investment Levy’ so that the proceeds from major events can be reinvested in our parks.
All this while we receive Green Flag park status across twelve of our parks in Lambeth – including Brockwell Park – meaning that they are officially ranked amongst the very best in the country.
We have also looked at opportunities for augmenting the reduced budget by earning more from the parks’ assets, such as introducing licensing for fitness trainers or professional dog walkers.
We are confident that the vast majority of residents won’t have noticed any difference in their local park – and we want to keep it that way. The council works very closely with Friends of Parks groups and together a new Parks Charter is being drawn up. This will set out and define the partnership between Lambeth and the Lambeth Parks Forum (the representative body of park users) and will cover things like oversight of the budget, maintenance, consultation on nearby planning applications and how any available money (Section 106 or CIL) will be spent. It will also create a forum where users can propose initiatives, express concerns and receive regular feedback on the management of parks.
Finally, on a very positive note, in January 2015 Lambeth’s Cabinet approved a “Parks Capital Investment Programme”, paving the way for over £20m of investment up to 2019. Around £11m of this will come from Lambeth and the remainder from external sources such as the Heritage Lottery. We are determined to see our parks protected so future generations can continue to enjoy them.
You can find more details on our website: https://www.lambeth.gov.uk/sites/default/files/pts-draft-parks-capital-investment-plan-2014.pdf
On Sunday 01 June 2014 Friends of Brockwell Park held their Annual Tree Celebration. Every year people pay to have trees planted to remember loved ones, celebrate family or in thanks of people’s service to the local community other events. Former Thurlow Park Cllr, Ann Kingsbury was given such an honour.