Friends of Brockwell Park launch petition against cuts

Written by on July 17, 2015 in Community, Council, News - 1 Comment

Stock picture by Joe Coulson

The Friends of Brockwell Park (FOBP) are launching a petition against the cuts faced by the park.

The petition, available to sign at the FOBP stall at this weekend’s Lambeth Country Show, calls on Lambeth council to “acknowledge the vital role parks play in people’s health and wellbeing and to fund parks properly in recognition of that role, keep two full-time Lambeth officers on-site in Brockwell Park and avoid excessive use of parks for revenue-generating fenced events.”

The FOBP say they are dismayed at the 50% funding cut proposed by the council, as well as at the plans to remove all officers from Brockwell and to administer it from a central bureau.

“A Park of this size needs two full-time Lambeth officers on-site to run it properly and safely,” said FOBP Chair, Peter Bradley. “Parks cannot be run on the cheap, or at arm’s length.”

FOBP says there is “profound concern” that the park is being seen as a cash cow, as the summer months have seen an increase of ticket-only events.

A recent survey by FOBP showed that more than three-quarters (77.49%) of park users were opposed to “ticket-only, fenced events at raised decibel levels”.

The FOBP committee unanimously opposed the proposal for eight such events per summer.

“The park is not a Council asset for income-generating exploitation,” said Bradley.

Cllr Jane Edbrooke, Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Lambeth’s parks are key to the character of the borough and we are very proud of them.

“But we’re being hit by more than £200m worth of cuts to our budget from government, which are affecting every single aspect of what the council does.

“The status quo is simply not an option so we have to get real and start looking at the best way to keep our parks thriving so they can continue to benefit the whole borough and everybody in it.

“Parks like Brockwell not only provide a pleasant space for residents to spend their free time but also attract many visitors to the borough, benefiting the local economy and adding to Lambeth’s sociable and diverse nature.

“We want to work with groups like Friends of Brockwell park to find practical, realistic ways to keep our beloved green spaces some of the best in London.”

About the Author

Anna McKie is News Editor for the Brixton Blog and Bugle

One Comment on "Friends of Brockwell Park launch petition against cuts"

  1. Pat Gordon-Smith July 18, 2015 at 4:57 pm ·

    As a very local resident who has lived on the Herne Hill side of the park for 23 years, I’ve seen a lot of approaches to park management over the years. In the past, ticketed events were sometimes managed incredibly badly and I certainly remember one that resulted in considerable long-term damage to a large area of parkland. So I was a bit worried when last month’s FOUND festival was announced. BUT … then I was pleasantly surprised. The escaping sound was minimal, the crowd was largely well behaved, the area reserved for the festival did not encroach too much on general park use, and it was all tidied away with no obvious damage to the park.

    So I’d like to ask … what is the problem with that? If it’s done carefully and respectfully, why shouldn’t Lambeth make use of the park to raise money? Services have been slashed. There are children needing additional support in school who can no longer get it, vulnerable older people not getting visits and housing that is not being upgraded. Even the park’s funding has been cut, as FOBP themselves point out. But there isn’t any cash. So it seems pretty sensible that, as long as the park and residents’ access and quality of life are all respected, why not raise some money by giving people a good day out? And, let me add, I am neither a Lambeth employee nor a frequenter of music festivals.

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