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A quarter-million pairs of feet
THE attached PDF file is a scan of the four-page leaflet published by Festival Republic that has recently been distributed around Finsbury Park.
It discloses the six Major Event days coming up, each with a capacity or expected attendance of 45,000. Accepting there is likely to be overlap in numbers, that could be up to 270,000 pairs of feet.
Festival Republic is a customer of Haringey Council and their occupation is made under the Major Events Policy of the Council, first ordained in late 2013 by the then Cabinet, led by Council Leader Kober.
Is this not too much to impose on a London park in a built-up area, over six days?
If I read the recent press coverage correctly the money Haringey makes from these Finsbury Park events can only be spent for the betterment of Finsbury Park. The money cannot be spent on other council services or even other parks. Reseeding the area behind the Great Wall should be more than amply covered as should many years' worth of bedding plants. Perhaps the Bowls Club could have a make over, or there be some amelioration to the rental terms of the Finsbury Park Sports Partnership.
Others have argued that the receipts this year might mean that there be no need for further events for some time. But the arcane rituals of local authority accounting mean that the figures are almost completely impenetrable.
This is Clive's picture of the Great Wall of Finsbury Park taken from his twitter stream
(map shows location of the brief sink hole that was repaired in double-quick time before a recent Major Event)
FINSBURY Park lies at the southern-most extremity of Haringey Borough. This means that, of the impact—in terms of noise, damage, disruption, domination and denial-of-access— roughly two-thirds falls on the residents of other Boroughs: Hackney and Islington.
From their Major Events policy, Haringey Council is currently generating many hundreds-of-thousands of pounds on this public park.
The High Court said that the Council holds the park in Trust for us, the public. Their ruling also said that all monies raised on a park, by way of rental income, must be spent on that park, alone. The Council have accepted this ruling.
The Court's thinking was probably that there should be a reasonable limit placed so that delinquent councils did not simply over-burden a given park and use it as a cash-cow to fund all manner of other things. This is what has happened to Finsbury Park in recent years.
In theory, what ought to happen, is that the need to raise such vast sums and hold so many huge events should reduce or, that Finsbury Park becomes the most richly-endowed park in Britain (with far more than enough needed to repair damage).
In practice, we shall have to see, but I suspect neither of the above is likely to happen.
CURRENTLY, there are hundreds of metres of 12-foot high steel fence, walling-off many acres of Finsbury Park. For the first time in Haringey's Major Events policy, a relatively short section has been reinforced with angled, parapet-like steel. This faces the children’s play area. In a park and approved by Haringey Council.