The Friends of Finsbury Park have their AGM this evening at 7pm in the Finsbury Park Trust Offices on Seven Sisters Road. "Everyone is welcome"
They've been given leave to appeal the outcome of their failed legal action to ban large scale events in London's parks. Sadly it seems they are still pressing ahead with their campaign to remove Finsbury Park's main source of income, send the park into decline and put a stop to events enjoyed by thousands of Londoners.
In their little post-truth echo chamber they continue to repeat concerns about damage to the park and security issues, neither of which were significant problems during last summer's events. They say the park will be just fine without the major events income, a belief which is backed by neither evidence nor common sense at a time when council services are being severely cut.
Here's Martin in a news clip on the subject. The FoFP was set up to promote the interests of the park and all of its users, but still appears to be prioritising the concerns of a handful of local residents:
I thought the comment was with reference to the surrounding streets and pavements which are frequently clogged. But anyway, if you go to the park on a hot summers afternoon it is also often heaving with the number of people picnicking, playing sport, relaxing and children playing, and it's usually most densely packed in the very area that gets fenced off for exclusive use by the music events. Good luck to Martin and the others involved in trying to keep the park open to us all.
Alex, I do hope you're not missing the point of my post. I expressly used the phrase 'wry smile' to indicate that I was referring to the irony inherent in the comment being made in a particular place at a particular time. I then went on to fully defend the right of the group to take their case to court. I do hope you're not missing the point.
So, go ahead, Billy, offer a definition that works for you of who or which group has, in your opinion, the right to challenge the Council in court.
For my part, I'll quote Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court in the UK, speaking in 2013:
The rule of law requires that any persons with a bona fide reasonable legal claim must have an effective means of having that claim considered, and, if it is justified, being satisfied, and that any persons facing a claim must have an effective means of defending themselves. And the rule of law also requires that, save to the extent that it would involve a denial of justice, the determination of any such claim is carried out in public. So citizens must have access to the courts to have their claims, and their defences, determined by judges in public according to the law …
An then there's Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights:
Everyone whose rights and freedoms guaranteed by the law of the Union are violated has the right to an effective remedy before a tribunal in compliance with the conditions laid down in this Article.
Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law. Everyone shall have the possibility of being advised, defended and represented.
Sadly there's too much of people having no time for proper justice these days, but be in no doubt it matters more now than perhaps it has for generations.
Of course the courts should be a last resort, but who's to say who's at fault here. There's quite clearly a fundamental disagreement and an inability to see eye-to-eye. It's not the first time nor will it be that last that relations between people have come to such a pass. I think it falls to the body of power, the Council in this case, to lead the way in finding a remedy outside the courts. Did they suggest mediation? If not, why not. That's certainly the route I would have taken in their place.
Without judging this particular situation, what I can say is that examples of unreasonable and intractable behaviour by Haringey Council are far from rare. It's not beyond the bounds of possibility that the FoFP just reached a stage when they felt no remedy other than a legal one was open to them.
At this point I have no evidence about what the route to court was, and I suspect that you don't either. In my mind the onus of responsibility for avoiding this situation lies properly with the Council. With all this being the case I defend the group's right to access justice.
I respect your right to your opinions, Billy, no matter how little you choose not to support them with any facts.
No, I wasn't critical of the chaps organising the Finsbury Park Neighbourhood Forum. I questioned the wisdom of part of Harringay submitting itself to the planning desires of people from a different area.
The participation of people in local residents' groups of all sorts is pitifully low. Neither the nature of this problem nor its scale is unique to FoFP.
Local democracy is full of holes and gaps. Perhaps you have a suggestion of how to replace all these poorly attended residents groups around the country. I'd guess that the vast majority of them are no better attended than the FoFP. Should we have compulsory participation? Should we deny their right to function unless they reach a minimum level of membership? Should they just give up? Or should we perhaps just accept an imperfect system that's the best it can be? It may be that you have another suggestion?