In response to this consultation on concerts in Finsbury Park OpinioN8 has received the following comments
Haringey’s recent proposal to fill the park with concerts for up to 18 days per summer is ill conceived and asset stripping of the worst kind!
And worse, according to the Friends of Finsbury Park (below) – it appears they have already decided, and the consultation is just a tick box exercise to prove that they consulted the users and locals.
We need all our members (and friends) to reply to this consultation, or risk massive damage to the park - both physical damage and damage from restricted access to large areas of the park.
These large scale concerts will also limit the ability of FPSP to generate revenue from the tennis courts, as the noise and disturbance from concerts will make it very unpleasant/difficult to use the courts.
A park is a open green space to provide respite from the congestion of city life. I completely oppose using parks for large scale commercial concerts – as I cannot see how they satisfy any of the objectives of a park - a park should be a tranquil space free from noise, pollution and congestion, a space to play and exercise. Concerts should be held at venues specifically designed and suited for that purpose – a park is not such a venue. They are not even proposing to put money earned back into the park, unless it gets above a very high threshold, and then the money must be shared with all other parks in Haringey – presumably ones that are not blighted by similar concerts.
From: The Friends of Finsbury Park [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 14 October 2013 00:10
Subject: Haringey Council Events Consultation Finsbury Park - Have your say!
You may have heard about the Council's plans to increase the number of large scale events in Finsbury Park. We urge you to please complete the consultation (www.haringey.gov.uk/finsburyparkevents) before the deadline on 31 October. But please do read our position below before you do, as it contains important background information.
To enable us to tackle issues like the proposed Events Policy, we need as many members as possible. We are therefore actively growing our membership and you will be hearing from us more often. Please do also follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/finsburyparkfriends) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/finsparkfriends) and tell your friends and fellow Park users!
Our position on the proposed Events Policy:
The Friends of Finsbury Park are deeply concerned about Haringey Council's consultation on the event policy and the plans to increase the number of large scale events in Finsbury Park.
What the council say:
- On holding events in Finsbury Park: “Less events, the result of competition from other venues, means we have less money to spend on maintaining and improving Finsbury Park and other parks in the borough”
- On the current Events Policy: “The council has for the last 11 years been managing events in Finsbury Park based on a series of recommendations agreed by Cabinet on 3 December 2002”
- On event organisers: “Allowing more large events of a longer duration will allow the council to offer bookings to more than one event organiser”
- On the income target for events: “This will help the council to meet the income target for 2014 of £165,000.”
- On reinvesting income into the park: “The current policy states that any additional income generated above the annual income target should be set aside for use in the Park. Due to the lack of bookings in recent years there has not been any additional income to reinvest in the Park.” “It is proposed that the use of additional income generated be used in other parks in the borough as well as Finsbury Park”
- On the proposed number of events: "We propose that the new policy increases the number of large events permissible from five to six; and increases the duration from one to two days (three days on some occasions).
- On event attendee numbers: “The existing policy limits the number of people attending large events to 40,000." ”Ongoing premises licences are held by two event organisers for Finsbury Park: one for an attendance level of 39,999 and the other for 49,999.”
- On park usage during event times: “It shows that the remaining part of Finsbury Park (not being used for the event) is larger than the whole of Clissold Park.”
- On a community festival: “It is proposed that a sum of £20,000 per annum would be set aside from the events income so that: annual community led festivals in the parks will continue to be supported"
What we say:
- We believe in sustainable, varied and considerate use of the Park and that industrial-scale commercial concerts cause significant damage, disruption and distress to the park, its users and neighbours. We also believe that park revenue should come from facilities and services that are accessible and affordable for all.
- We don’t believe that Finsbury Park should have revenue targets as the main purpose of a public park is to provide recreational opportunities for the local community. And we don’t think that Finsbury Park should be touted around as a concert venue to subsidise other council spending or to support all Haringey’s other parks.
- The council never properly consulted on the current 2002 policy (which permits five large scale commercial events per year) so the basis of the current consultation is flawed. We do not believe that Finsbury Park should be an asset or venue to be touted around to various events organisers, who will use the park without the park users’ best interests at heart.
- The council has not consulted on the increased income target of £165,000 to be generated from events in Finsbury Park. We have concerns around whether this is a reasonable and sustainable target for our public space, particularly as none of this income goes back into the park - see point 5 – and given the state of the park following recent events.
- The council’s events policy only allows for additional income to be invested back into the park – that’s income over and above the council’s target. We believe that all income generated from the park should be reinvested into the park. The proposed policy worsens the situation further for Finsbury Park as it plans to share any additional income across all parks in the borough. Furthermore as the park, users and local residents - not to mention wildlife - will bear the brunt of these events it does not seem equitable that funds should be expended elsewhere.
- The existing policy allows for five 1-day large events. The new policy allows for six 3-day large events – taking the total permitted from 5 days to 18 days. Adding in set up and take down time of 1-2 weeks per event, that’s 6-12 weeks per year that park users cannot use more than half of the park.Furthermore, it is estimated that the 2-day Stone Roses concert generated revenues in excess of £6.5m for SJM Ltd, with the council receiving £130,000.Using the same calculations, two 2-day events could raise £260,000 for the council - well in excess of the £165k revenue target. And proving the need for six 3-day events excessive.
- Not only does this show that the council has already entered into an agreement which is in breach of its existing policy, it also shows that concerts will have to take up more room than they have previously to allow for the extra 10,000 attendees per concert. So even more of the park that users won’t have access to.
- The point that park users will still have an area the size of Clissold Park to use is invalid. Park users live, and have chosen to live, near Finsbury Park and our council taxes should allow us to benefit from this park – all year round.
- We don’t feel that it is possible to host a community festival on top of all the other proposed events. Even with perfect weather the park would not recover in time for the next event, rendering significant areas of the park as 'no-go' areas for much, if not, all of summer 2014
Further to the above, we know that the council has already received applications from SJM Ltd and Live Nation for three 2-day events between May and July 2014 with 50,000 attendees on each day. We therefore feel that this consultation is already destined to be found to approve the five day policy as well as the revenue target, rather than be a true consultation.
We urge you to tell the council your views and please feel free to ask any further questions for clarification on any of the above.