Lambeth Council’s proposal to permit two massive music festival in Brockwell Park this summer provoked a quite unprecedented storm of protest from residents.  The public meeting, called and chaired by the Herne Hill Forum in January, was a cauldron of rage.

In consequence (and there are local elections just round the corner, aren’t there?), one of the events, Lovebox (why do they use such juvenile names?) has decamped to West London.  Their departure was the occasion of some quite byzantine events within our expensive Town Hall, as unearthed by the excellent Brixton Buzz.

But Lambeth, hungry for the money, have evidently given the amber light to the other event, Field Day.  This promises to be scarcely less disruptive, and with some 39,000 attendees predicted, the impact on Herne Hill will not be good.

Various groups have mounted objections. The Herne Hill Society have reiterated their earlier objections and the very active Brockwell Tranquillity group, coordained through Facebook, have lodged a very powerful and deeply-researched document challenging the legal basis for the licence: Tranquillity Objection to Brockwell License

Licensing objections need to be in by Monday 5 March. I have added my modest objections, see below:

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I am writing to lodge an objection to the proposal from Waxarch Ltd to hold the Field Day event in Brockwell Park in June 2018.

I oppose this event specifically on the following grounds:

Public safety will be jeopardised. The total numbers attending Field Day/Mighty Hoopla (37,500 on the Saturday, as estimated by the organisers), would place a huge strain on public transport and on public security. It is a dramatically large number to manage in our area’s narrow streets and with our limited bus and train services. We recall that last year’s Sunfall resulted in the police being called to deal with unsafe crowds, and problems witnessed both for Sunfall and the Fireworks display include crushes and people being pushed off of the pavement into on-coming traffic at Park gates. The present application appears to offer no additional crowd management points: it would use the same gates, and there are no details around calculations for crowd exit speeds e The Brixton Water Lane gate has a very narrow lead in, forming a natural bottle neck, explaining why it has so often been the site of crushes. This could be mitigated through additional crowd management points, where people can be held until the crush subsides, are needed within the Park but outside the fences. No details of this are given on the plan and a license should not be granted until plans for this are provided.

Crime and disorder is a real possibility and the organisers have demonstrated no meaningful measures to combat this. On past form (e.g. last year’s Sunfall event) Issues such as drug dealing, drug taking and disposal of drug paraphernalia may not be confined to the area designated for the event, but are likely to spill over into other areas of the park and the surrounding streets and residents’ gardens, resulting in long-term damage and pollution. Do we expect our over-stretched police to prevent all this? And our limited park managers to clean up afterwards? At Sunfall these issues were not dealt with by the police because they were occupied with crowd management

There is a high possibility of public nuisance. The license for music is very late – music until 23.00 on the Friday and Saturday, and 22.30 on the Sunday. This is a residential park, surrounded on all sides by homes in close proximity to the event site. Yet it is likely to take several hours for people to exit the site, which means locals could be dealing with large numbers of drunk people outside their homes until well past 1am. Given a ticketed event of this magnitude has not taken place in the Park before, the cut off for live music should be 9pm with an event close of 10pm, in line with other events such as the Lambeth Country Show’s 8pm finish, 10pm for the Fireworks display and a 10pm live music license and 10.30pm shut down for Sunfall.

In general, my concerns are dealt with in more detail by the Brockwell Tranquillity objection that has been submitted in a representative capacity.

And in conclusion ,  I believe that events on this scale are too large for the Park, and should never be tolerated.

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