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A stroll within the park? Not really easy as festivals take over inexperienced areas | Travel

As summer time temperatures threaten to set new data, there are few higher locations to flee the stifling indoor warmth than your native park. Yet rising numbers of individuals are discovering their park has been fenced off for weeks to host a music pageant.

By the top of the summer time, public parks will have hosted greater than 100 occasions, many for the primary time – an unlimited improve over the previous decade.

About half of Finsbury Park in north London is fenced off between May and October, with 9 occasions listed on efestivals.co.uk. Sefton Park in Liverpool has common occasions, which pressure a few of the residents of surrounding tower blocks to go away their properties. Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow, Moseley Park in Birmingham and Brockwell Park in south London all have not less than two occasions going down this summer time.

“It feels like it’s getting worse,” stated Kate Ashbrook, basic secretary of the Open Spaces Society. “Obviously the public is banned from the park, not just during the event but for significant periods before and after, and the organisers often leave a terrible mess. Then there’s the noise and the traffic that’s generated. For people who live in flats, this is the only place they can go to get out of the house and enjoy a safe, lovely, natural environment.”

For individuals who dwell in flats, a park is the one place they will take pleasure in a protected, pretty, pure atmosphere

Kate Ashbrook, Open Spaces Society

The development in festivals and different occasions at public parks is the results of swingeing funds cuts in native government. An inquiry into parks by MPs on the communities and native government committee found that 92% of councils had minimize budgets, with Newcastle upon Tyne lowering spending by 97% over 5 years.

Helen Monger, director of the London Parks and Gardens Trust, stated councils weren’t legally obliged to take care of parks, not like museums and libraries. Creating a statutory provision would assist, she stated.

“Local authorities are being incentivised to privatise their parks by the back door to try and cover maintenance costs,” she stated. “You’ll end up with local authorities dedicating one or two parks as income generators and they just get festivals week in week out, and the rest will not be maintained and will gradually become dustbowls, developed on, or encouraging antisocial behaviour.” Some councils, together with Newcastle, had been contemplating outsourcing park administration to charities, she stated, however that merely shifted the issue.

“Either it becomes like the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens of old and you charge people an entrance fee, or you still have the problem of having to raise money, so you run festivals.”

Finsbury Park this May, earlier than the pageant and gig season was totally beneath approach. The park hosts large-scale ticket-only music occasions by means of to autumn. Photograph: Alamy

Over the previous few years there have been a number of authorized battles the place park campaigners have managed to cease new festivals and occasions. The London Parks and Gardens Trust and Open Spaces Society challenged plans for an open-air theatre and cinema display in Victoria Embankment Gardens on the Thames in 2016, and Formula E electrical motor racing now not takes place in Battersea Park, south London, after native opposition.

Not all have been profitable. Last week makes an attempt by the Friends of Finsbury Park to cap the variety of occasions councils can fence off a public house had been lastly defeated when the supreme court docket refused a final enchantment.

“The largest part of the park has been closed since the beginning of May and it won’t be properly open again until October,” stated Simon Hunt, chairman of the group. “Nearly each weekend there’s something on. We began to get significantly involved when it wasn’t an occasional concert a couple of times a yr.

“It has turned into a commercial venue. It has reached the point now where it’s closed for a good three or four months of the summer. It can no longer be called a park.” The group is contemplating difficult the licences of event organisers and arguing that the extended nature of the occasions breaches belief regulation.

Some discover a extra sympathetic listening to. The Sefton Park Community Association fought Liverpool metropolis council over concert events within the park on noise grounds, however Bob Marais, an affiliation board member, stated councillors had listened to the protests and lowered site visitors congestion from occasions such because the Liverpool International Music Festival.


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