The Islington Gazette is reporting today:
Friends of Finsbury Park campaigners could restrict private events in parks across London
Legal action by campaigners trying to stop Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park could end up restricting events across the whole of London.
The Friends of Finsbury Park failed with a bid to ban the event last year after taking Haringey Council to a judicial review on grounds the park was being overused for private functions.
But the group did win an appeal to challenge Mr Justice Supperstone’s decision, which will take place at the Court of Appeal on November 2.
If they win the appeal, the ruling will not ban commercial events, but it will restrict the number of days they go on for and the size – and will apply to every council in the capital.
“This is not just about protecting Finsbury Park and safeguarding it for future generations,” said FOFP campaigner Tom Palin. “It will decide whether parks will be protected for local communities against commercial over-exploitation, or given away indefinitely for local authorities to hire out to whoever they want, for however long, regardless of its condition or the customer.”
This campaign has little to do with protecting the park and a great deal to do with protecting the interests of nearby residents - people who live near a park which has regularly hosted large outdoor events over the last few decades, but who are unwilling to tolerate a little associated noise and disruption. For the benefit of these few people, the Friends are prepared to sacrifice events and activities enjoyed by tens of thousands of people across London, along with the cultural and commercial gains that these events provide.
A simple word count on the Friends' "Wireless Report" (here) is quite revealing: "resident" gets 86 mentions, "park user" appears just 9 times.
Resident concerns should be taken into consideration when planning and managing events, of course, but it isn't the responsibility of the park users group to represent them. In fact there's a major conflict of interest: the course of action they have chosen could be disastrous for park users in general if they succeed in cancelling the park's main source of funding from events income.
There are two specific pieces of legislation which they are hoping to enforce through their appeal.
Interestingly, both Acts apparently apply only to parks and open spaces under the control and management of a local authority. If the Friends win their appeal, thereby removing the park's main source of funding, the council may be forced to consider leasing the park to a private management company who won't face the same restrictions and will be keen to extract the maximum commercial potential from the park. I don't suppose it's occurred to the Friends that their gun is pointed at their own feet again.
Why don't they just change the respective acts?
I am not part of FoFP so just heard about this here. I am really glad I don't live too near the park as although the bass is omnipresent on festival days, I can go out or shut my windows. It is a bit difficult to enjoy my garden on those days but not impossible. However for the general park users a lot of the park is used up and it is left in a mess afterwards. A lot of families use the park if they have no gardens and these events happening in the middle of the summer is really hard. There is open drug dealing going on, the park and streets around are littered with bottles and used nitrous oxide canisters and people who live nearby have had human excrement in their gardens etc. Thats why I am glad to be a bit away. The smaller concerts just don't cause this problem but I have just seen a raft of applications sent via SGRA and 1 has 45,000 and the other 50,000 audience. It feels to me there should be a way to limit concert numbers to 20,000 max as there are clearly some promotors who are happy with this number given other applications are 12,000. The park does need protection and I think the local residents could do with a break. Having door knocked the area at recent elections, there is huge diversity around the park and it would be interesting to know the impact on those residents as some are unlikely to be on here or SGRA.
See my post - a few minutes ago
For details of the six event applications for next summer.
Although there were six applications, the organisers of Field Day have confirmed that they are no longer planning to run their event in Finsbury Park.
The council contacted stakeholders on 6 October to tell them that only one of the June events would be going ahead and an article in the Islington Gazette confirms this. The Friends of Finsbury Park have cheerfully acknowledged this via Twitter but their campaign disingenuously continues to refer to six event applications.
Fortunately you too have a surname worthy of Lording it over us and passing your judgements ;)