Clapham Common’s neighbours must endure more festivals next year

By Grainne Cuffe, BBC Local Democracy Reporter

Families living around Clapham Common must put up with the noise from more music festivals in the next year.

Permission for a string of events on there was granted by Lambeth Council’s planning committee on Tuesday (May 12). 

The committee approved an application from EventLambeththe events service of the council, for a range of small, medium, large, and major events”, some of which have already been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.  

Wandsworth council was one of the many objectors to noise levels to some of the music festivals there last year.

All events this year will be subject to a condition whereby organisers must provide a list of Covid-19-related measures they are taking to keep people safe, including transport.  

Only 12 events were planned for this year over 86 days, four of which have been cancelled, compared to 19 events last year, 24 in 2018, and 37 in 2017. 

Festival Republic, running from August 15 to September 5 and including music festivals  SW4 and Yam Carnival, is still planned, along with the London to Brighton Do it for Charity bike ride from September 12 to September 14, Cancer Research Race for Life and Pretty Muddy from October 2 to October 4, Runthrough Clapham Common on July 12, Bandstand Beds Harvest Feast on September 19, Colourscape Festival from September 8 to September 24, and Ballet Under the Stars from December 7 to December 22.  

Chase the Sun, a cycling event, has been postponed until June 2021, along with Moonwalk, BHF London to Brighton Ride, and Redbull Reign.  

In a statement read by a planning officer, Olivia Pearcey from EventsLambeth said the planning application did not guarantee events could take place.  

“The health and safety of attendees and staff is paramount and we’ll be working with Government and PHE guidance.  

“This does not permit EventLambeth carte blanche to hold events on Clapham Common – it covers specific events and means community groups and charities do not have to apply separately. 

“If the application is granted, it will not change any of the event application processes,” she said.  

Ms Pearcey said all events go through a “detailed process” before they are given permission.  

For major, large, and high-risk events, organisers present a safety advisory group, which includes representatives from council departments, emergency services, the NHS, and TfL, while any event application that has a licensable activity must apply for a licence. 

Events with more than 499 people on the site at any one time require a premises licence and must advertise in a local newspaper and on the council website.  

“Even with the planning application there’s no guarantee that they will be given permission to take place,” Ms Pearcey added 

Clapham Common ward Councillor Joanna Reynolds objected to the application to keep the Common free for residents. 

In a statement read out during the meeting, she said she was against the proposals if Festival Republic is still scheduled to take place “as many residents will be at home and will need the Common for their leisure time”. 

“It is the largest green space in Lambeth and a major green lung for London. 

“‘Every blade of grass is worth its weight in gold’, a bit of poetry written in stone at the side of the grass lawn by County Hall,” Cllr Reynolds said.  

The South Bank Centre was also given the green light to hold events from June 22 at the same meeting.

The centre usually puts on events from April to September, but changed the dates to run from June 22 to September 27 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.  

The approved application includes setting up art exhibits, artist and community events, and other temporary structures such as pop-up cafes, bars and shops.  


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