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Campaigners eye legal action over festivals in Lambeth parks

Campaigners have set up a crowd funding campaign to try to take legal action against the London Borough of Lambeth over commercial festivals in parks.

They objected to Lambeth allowing a three-day festival in Brockwell Park for up to 40,000 customers, and have so far raised £5,610.

A statement on the Crowd Justice website said nearly half of the park's grassed area would be fenced in and inaccessible to local residents for three weeks.

It added: “For the local community this is a devastating decision, and one that sets a worrying precedent for how green space is treated in our cities.

“We urgently need to raise funds to obtain specialist legal advice on the prospect of an application for judicial review.

“We want the decision overturned and future plans for Lambeth parks to give proper regard to the community's needs and the environmental impact of these events.”

Campaigners recognised Lambeth wanted to raise money by hiring out the park but said it was seeking to “monetise open space” that would be unavailable to regular users.

They also said Lambeth had ignored a record number of objections and refused to release figures on the expected income.

The issue is similar to one taken unsuccessfully to the Court of Appeal last year by the Friends of Finsbury Park, which sought to prevent the London Borough of Haringey from closing part of that park for festivals.

Sonia Winifred, cabinet member for equalities and culture at Lambeth, said when the decision was taken to allow the festivals: “There has been concern raised by some residents and some councillors in relation to the number of events proposed for this summer. These views were carefully considered before this decision was made.

“We have listened and taken on board what residents have said. The experience and insight we have gained through our engagement process will be fed into our events strategy which is subject to annual review.”

Mark Smulian

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