The Friends of Brockwell Park say they are ” deeply concerned” by Lambeth council’s decision to fence off the Lambeth Country Show on July 21–22, and impose stringent security, including the banning of all drinks being brought into the park.
“This is the first time in more than 40 years this has happened” say the Friends in a statement.
“We believe the show should be postponed to the autumn, to allow the community to have input into this decision and give the park’s ecology time to recover from the damage inflicted on it by the recent Field Day/Mighty Hoopla festivals.
“Queuing for hours to be submitted to an intimate body search and confiscation of all drinks is not most people’s idea of a wonderful Lambeth Country Show experience, particularly for families with young children, the old and the disabled.
“This radical change to the very heart of this much-loved event has been done without any serious explanation from Lambeth.
“What is needed urgently is a detailed, reasoned argument, with alternatives, including contributions from the police and the insurers. “We are all aware of the need for heightened security, but the ways of achieving that must be transparent and open to democratic discussion.
“There has been no consultation with the local community on this hasty decision, neither with the Friends of Brockwell Park, founded 1985, nor with the park’s umbrella group, Brockwell Park Community Partners, although the council promised such consultation would happen.
“The point of submitting plans to local people and organisations in good time is that we might come up with a better solution for the park we love.
“Brockwell Park is suffering from the ecological and infrastructural damage caused by the Field Day/Mighty Hoopla events at the beginning of June. “It will take months to heal and FOBP has grave doubts about the wisdom of imposing yet another gigantic ring of fencing on the park at the height of summer: and with the LCS barely a month away, no map of the extent of the fence has yet been published.
“Fencing is particularly damaging to the fragile grass and verges of the park, something that will be compounded in wet weather—not unknown in the British summer.
“The total loss to Lambeth on the unfenced Show last year was more than £350,000 and no plans have been published for tackling that loss.
“Nothing has been said of the extra cost of building and dismantling a giant fence this year, let alone the security staff to manage what we are told will be 70 access lanes from midday to 8pm all weekend, but the loss could easily double to £700,000. “This is a significant amount for council tax-paying Lambeth residents to bear.
“As an exhibitor, we has not been apprised of the security and priority arrangements for its volunteers staffing our stand at the Show.
“Without detailed plans in place for exhibitors before, during and after the LCS, there must be fears dangerous bottlenecks will occur, especially during the extremely tight breakdown on the Monday morning.”
Friends chairman Peter Bradley said: ‘The decision to fence the Lambeth Country Show for the first time in 40 years amounts to a huge and unwelcome change. “It has been taken without serious explanation or consultation.
“The costs of the fence and accompanying security over a summer weekend are of major concern to council tax-payers. “We call on the council to postpone this year’s Show to the autumn—something it has done before, in 2012—to allow time for proper consideration of this immense change to a loved event.”
Comments on the Friends website have included the following:
“There has been no consultation; the public meeting to discuss the situation was badly arranged (short notice and little publicity) and then cancelled anyway: the park is already suffering and needs time to heal. “Councillors are making decisions on behalf of their residents and voters that do not allow for the well-being or needs of the people. “Give us back our park. “Please. “And then give us the Lambeth Country Show – in a way that is conscious and considerate.” If Lambeth is a Co-operative Council, PROVE IT!!
“COUNCIL’S INSURERS DEMAND EXTRA MEASURES”
Asked for a response to the Friends’ comments Lambeth council’s press office directed News From Crystal Palace to the show’s website which states:
Ensuring public safety is a crucial element in event planning in London and the Lambeth Country Show is no exception.
The decision to erect a perimeter fence and bag searches on entry was taken after specific advice from the Metropolitan Police and other members of the borough’s safety advisory group. This was based on an assessment of the ‘disorder and violence’ at the 2017 Lambeth Country Show.
The police have advised that a ‘serious risk to public safety’ was identified following the Lambeth Country Show in 2015 and 2016. This feedback being incorporated into planning 2017’s Lambeth Country Show, but the event still experienced disorder.
Further, the council’s insurer has requested these additional measures in order to insure the event. The current national terrorism threat level has also had to be taken into account. The new measures should not impact on people’s enjoyment of the Country Show and will ensure public safety.
Key police safety advice included:
– Removing elements of the event that attract disorder
– Adequate fencing and security
– An increase in the number of experienced security staff on site
– Stricter searches on entry
Further reading: LAMBETH COUNTRY SHOW: NO HI VIZ JACKETS, PERFUME BOTTLES, FLAGS, GLASS BOTTLES – LAMBETH COUNTRY SHOW’S (VERY LONG) LIST OF WHAT’S BANNED FROM THIS YEAR’S EVENT This website June 21st