Residents call to protect borough’s green spaces after festival fiasco at Brockwell Park

Residents are calling for their council to protect their borough’s green spaces after a spate of  festivals and heavy rainfall saw Brockwell Park turned into a mud bath.

Brockwell Live hosted four festivals at the Brixton park over the recent bank holiday weekend – Project 6, Wide Awake, Cross The Tracks and City Splash – and was due to host the free, family-friendly Brockwell Bounce last Wednesday.

But, heavy rainfall saw the ground of Brockwell Park churned up during the weekend of events, leading to the cancellation of Brockwell Bounce. A new event during the school summer holidays is being organised, Lambeth council has said.

Rebecca Tamás, 35, of Brixton Hill said: “Music festivals are great events, but they shouldn’t come at the expense of the precious space of our public parks.

“As the serious mud problems, and the cancellation of the free children’s event have shown, huge events and the environmental health of the park just don’t go together. 

“If Lambeth really wants to look after residents’ best interests, they should reconsider running so many big festivals in the delicate ecosystem, and shared community space, that is Brockwell Park.”

Rebecca Tamás (Picture: Rebecca Tamás)

A Brockwell Live spokesman said it had implemented “additional ground protection” before the Mighty Hoopla festival which went ahead last weekend, and Lambeth Country Show, which is set to take place this weekend.

Pictures posted on social media showed signs across the festival warning of the adverse conditions and recommending “suitable footwear”.

The spokesman from the events company said teams have been laying woodchip and installing 20,000 square metres of additional materials across the site, including at entrances and stages.

Pete Elliott, 55, Green Party candidate for Dulwich and West Norwood, said: “I want to see our parks used for cultural and creative events, but events need to be appropriate to the size of the park.

“Inner city parks are the gardens for those people living nearby in flats and provide multiple health benefits to residents in areas where air quality is not great. 

“Fencing off huge areas of Brockwell Park for weeks during the busiest time of the year is not right or fair. 

“Now residents and groups will lose out again this summer.”

Pete Elliott, Green Party candidate for Dulwich and West Norwood, on the central Hill Estate (Picture: Pete Elliot)

Brockwell Live apologised for the disruption caused and said the company would fund the reinstatement of the park, with the aim of returning the majority of the site to the community “as soon as possible”.

Lambeth council said they have an agreement that any repairs to the park are paid for by Brockwell Live, adding the local authority puts £500,000 a year into park maintenance.

Looking towards plans for Lambeth Country Show this weekend, the local authority said the site is being “assessed daily” and the council’s parks team is working with an independent expert firm to ensure the park is restored to its best condition.

A council spokesman said: “We hugely value award winning Brockwell Park, as well as the 70 other parks and open spaces in Lambeth. We spend £500,000 a year on Brockwell Park’s maintenance and improvements, including planting dozens of extra trees during the winter planting season.

“We have moved events in Brockwell Park to June so the whole of the park is open during the school summer holidays. Holding the extra events helps create an exciting cultural offer for the borough, means we can afford to keep the popular free Lambeth Country Show and this year our event partnership will also secure more than £100,000 for community projects.”

Pictured top: Brockwell Park festival site last year / Rebecca Tamás (Pictures: Robert Firth / Rebecca Tamás)

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