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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Cllr scrutiny pulls no punches in exonerating big concerts in Finsbury Park

The council's scrutiny committee has published the findings of the review of this summer's concerts in Finsbury Park.

More info at Item 14 on the agenda for the committee's meeting on Monday 19th October, 7pm at Civic Centre.


Amidst a series of recommendations calling for better information about the events to be promoted and for changes to organisational procedures, the report avoids serious consideration of the disruption to the public caused by the concerts and their lasting damage to the park.

Please come along to the 'public' meeting on Monday 19th. The Friends of Finsbury Park will be present, and residents from Hackney and Islington are allowed to question the committee members.

Committee members are

Cllr Wright (Chair) - charles.wright@haringey.gov.uk
Cllr Jogee - adam.jogee@haringey.gov.uk
Cllr Ayisi - eugene.ayisi@haringey.gov.uk
Cllr Hearn - kirsten.hearn@haringey.gov.uk
Cllr Connor - pippa.connor@haringey.gov.uk

Tags for Forum Posts: finsbury park, finsbury park events, haringey scrutiny, wireless festival

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JJ, the main group who aren't happy with events of this size—believing them to be too big and unmanageable—is The Friends of Finsbury Park.

The key point is that the Council have ordered a £900,000 cut to the already chronically-underfunded parks service budget, 'to be made up' by the Finsbury Park concerts... hence the Council aim to create a dependency on the concerts continuing.. or there will no longer be a parks service in Haringey

The Haringey Friends of Parks Forum, the Council's community partner in the management of our parks and green spaces,  sent a list of proposals/demands to the 2 parties, the Council Leader and all Cllrs earlier this year. Not one bothered to reply..

Here they are, for all those genuinely interested in a parks service:

1. The Forum fully supports the Council's 'in-house' Parks Service and its hard-working and dedicated workers and office-based staff. We call on the Council to continue to back it and praise it, not undermine it or consider privatisation of any kind.

2. The Forum opposes the underfunding of the above Service (in 2010 in the lowest quintile of all London Boroughs, and further slashed by 50% in 2011/12) and calls for additional resources to be put in so that all its public parks and green spaces can be managed and maintained effectively. We do not want to see the current slide into crisis continue [See Appendices B and C below] - it has taken 15 years of colossal and collective effort by the community and Parks Service to rescue and turn around our green spaces after the crisis caused by the savage cuts 20-30 years earlier in the 1980s.

3. Certainly the further cuts threatened to the Parks Budget should be abandoned.

4. The ring-fenced annual capital 'match' funding from Haringey Council for the management and maintenance of the Heritage Lottery Fund projects (Finsbury, Markfield and Lordship) clearly should not continue to come from the seriously underfunded Parks Service budget. This is an unfair and discriminatory practice leaving little left for all the other green spaces. [See details in Appendix A, below, from the Head of Client services]. The outstanding amounts and any future match funding should come from other capital resources. This is a contractual matter which can be remedied simply by drawing on the Council's capital or contingency funding.

5. The Forum opposes increased numbers/lengths of major Commercial Events in Finsbury Park - such events often take a week to set up and remove, and dominate what should be a public space during much of the key summer months. Notwithstanding that, any money generated by such 'sacrificial' commercial activities in Haringey's parks should be ring-fenced as additional funding for parks and not used as an excuse to further cut the annual budget for the Parks Service.

6. The Forum supports the Council's policy that all our local public green spaces be managed and maintained to Green Flag Award minimum standards, as any community would expect. Over 60% of the key sites are yet to achieve that standard.

7. With an ever-increasing population in Haringey, we call on the Council to implement their policy of addressing existing deficiency of access to public open space, as well as ensuring protection of green space and the establishment of additional parks and public green space in all areas affected by development.

8. We recognise that the growing crisis for Haringey's green spaces is mirrored throughout many other areas of the UK, and that the responsibility to remedy this also lies at the national level.  We call on the Council to demand that the next Government after the General Election in May, whatever its complexion...

- hold a national inquiry into the funding and management of the UK's green spaces
- bring in a statutory duty to monitor and manage these spaces to Green Flag Award standard
- ensure adequate public resources for all green spaces

We continue to call on the leaders of both Parties with Councillors, and the individual Councillors, to respond to these 8 specific points.

Interesting post and points but I'm not sure how these actually relate to the project and the clear scope of this particular scrutiny project?
Dave, with an average of a 50% reduction in overall spend by all London councils in the past four years and no change in statutory responsibilities I don't see how Haringey, or any other local authority, can square the circle on non statutory service provision without either looking at cheaper ways of running these services or finding new income. I think there are really only two questions to ask;
What kind of parks and open spaces service do you want?
How is it going to be paid for?
I notice that you mention the contingency budget. Almost every plea for not reducing services I've seen, and not just in Haringey, talks about using the contingency budget. This is a single pot of money held to deal with unforeseen emergencies and once it's gone, it's gone. It cannot be used to deal with a lack of money in any meaningful way. After it runs out the services are back in a exactly the same position but this time without any kind of financial safety net.

We lost £37 million to Icelandic banks and the government paid out... Oh wait, different government, of course. As you were.



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