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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

An event application has been filed with the council to hold a funfair second half of June this year.  We need your support to object to this – please write to your local councillors so that they will file their objection on your behalf. 

We all know what damage the circus did last year to the common, which damage has not been fully restored (https://www.harringayonline.com/forum/topics/anyone-else-pretty-non...):

  • the bare lawn areas (the craters) look green but are mainly broadleaf plantain, not grass;
  • the wildflower meadow areas around the gate site is totally destroyed, no spring bulbs, no wildflowers, not even the meadow grasses were resown (the council was specifically informed on this and confirmed)
  • in other meadow areas the circus’s usage has totally eradicated the (i) early bulbs (snowdrops, crocuses) (ii) late spring bulbs (snakeshead fritillary) and (iii) any wildflowers (loss of 6+ years of volunteering work);
  • marking trenches between lawn and wildflower meadow have been destroyed in some areas and require rebuilding;
  • the bare areas have promoted growth of wild barley which sows into the meadow overtaking the wildflowers - large meadow areas essentially have to be started from scratch again (which means 3-4 years at least for first flowerings of meadow plants).

 If we want to save the little that is left we need to loudly object.

Reasons for our objection: 

  1. application is for 4,500 people:
    *   the circus last year applied for 900 which only walked a straight line into the tent, for the funfair, those 4,500 will be milling all over the common, between the rides and the wildflower meadow;
    *   official council recommendation (not taking into account reduction in usable land area due to tree line and meadow strip) is 3,897 (council publication to advertise Haringey’s parks “The great outdoors” published autum 2018, on council webpage), thus the event is larger than even the council recommended number of visitors;
  2. application budget GBP30k for this event:
    *   park hire (for large commercial events at Apr 2018/Mar 2019 prices) is for the week the funfair stays already more than GBP30k,  how will they pay for stewards, toilets, safety etc. - lack of money means any damage will not be repaired;
  3. application is for second half June:
    *   this is peak flowering time for the wildflower meadow, any destruction of the flowers (and consequently their seeds) will prohibit regeneration of the meadow plants. I’d assume that most visitors to the fair will not be local so won’t care about the wildflower meadow;
    *   some of the spring bulbs (crocus, fritillary) may not yet have died back naturally by that time and if their leaves are ripped off they will not have sufficient resources to sprout again the following year i.e. they will be dead for good;
  4. application is for catering and food stalls – there will inevitably litter ending up in the wildflower meadow strip. How many funfair staff will mill through the meadow to collect it and at the same time trample on the flowers?
  5. application is for three days and to have the funfair open till 9pm:
    *   the circus had 900 (one fifth of the visitors) come in over the course of ten days, the funfair will be open for only three days (rest of the week is prep time) and have five times as many people (4,500) walking over the lawn.  That lawn will be seriously damaged;
    *   this seems more geared towards youth, teenagers and twenties who are happy to spend on a ‘fun day’ and come later in the evening and are most likely to buy a lot of alcohol and create anti-social behaviour (the park is an alcohol prohibition zone).

For those living close to Ducketts Common - you will hear the funfair's music as they will apply for a music licence also. 

If you think and feel like us that the last remaining areas of the wildflower meadow should not be subjected to such an onslaught for little gain, then please write to your local councillor this week so that they can submit their objection on your behalf to the council.  

Thank you for your support and interest in local issues!

Tags for Forum Posts: Ducketts Common, damage, funfair, local, objection, park, support, wildflower meadow

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Replies to This Discussion

On revisiting the council's current fees tables I discovered that a funfair does not count as a commercial event but is grouped in a separate category (this would have netted the council about GBP30k).  That means the council's gains for a 'major event' in the category 'funfair/circus' would only be around GBP4,000 including all admin fees.  That seems a paltry sum for the potential damaged inflicted on the common.  

Some visual help of the impact of large events on the common.   Last year the circus parked its waggons right next to the wildflower meadow and circus staff used the meadow as a walkway.  They killed off all spring bulbs (snowdrops, crocuses and fritillary) and all wildflowers in that area.  For people not involved in establishing the meadow it is hard to image the damage done until the flowers (or their no show) bear witness.  In that sense I attach photo taken yesterday during the sunny afternoon.  It is a meadow area next to Green Lanes which is on the right hand side.  At the bottom of the photo plenty of crocuses are visible - this is how the meadow should look at this time of the year.  Above between the first tree and the next tree the meadow area only shows brown leaves with patches of grass.  All there is in terms of flowers is a small group of crocuses close to the next tree.  The blue line is the meadow boundary (the little trench).  So, from the meadow boundary on the left to the hedge on the right this should be a sea of crocuses just like at the bottom - both areas were planted at the same time.  The area with only grass and leaves has no crocuses left because of the circus destroyed them.  

Alec I just commented on your other post before I saw this about the damage done to the wildflower areas by the circus last year. I objected after the event last year and asked a local councillor to raise our concerns 

https://www.harringayonline.com/forum/topics/the-state-of-ducketts-...

I will certainly take it up with her again.

Thank you to all who contacted their local councillors - we had two of them objecting to the fun fair application.  Your voices were certainly heard. 

The sad news is that the council has decided to grant an events licence as they are keen for the fun fair to come.  So in about 2 weeks' time we will have Mannings back on Ducketts Common.  I understand that there was some consideration what to do about the meadow but in the end the long relationship of Mannings with the council seemed to have won the day and Mannings got their date in June, the main flowering period of the meadow (we proposed a date from August onwards which would have been past the seed ripening period of the meadow and damage would have been little).  

That said it might not make much of a difference as we lost so much of the meadow last year already and the last good areas were further decimated by the expansion of the Hampden Road gate and will be suffocated by the wild barley that was again left standing during the last lawn cuts, so, sadly, there is little meadow left which is worthwhile protecting. 

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