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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Friends of Finsbury Park to Mount Legal Challenge to Wireless

The Friends of Finsbury Park want to stop the Wireless Concert occupying "a third" of the park for two week in mid-summer

The Friends of Finsbury Park have set a course to mount a legal challenge to Haringey Council's renting out Finsbury Park for the Wireless Festival

The Friends say of the Wireless Festival, "It is almost impossible to comprehend its vast scale and the impact it has on Finsbury Park. Last year’s Wireless Festival covered almost one third of the size of the Park, surrounded by an oppressive 8ft high green metal barrier to keep Park users out, in some areas stretching as far as the eye could see. 

"Many local residents don't have gardens so the park serves as a vital outdoor amenity, and as events such as Wireless Festival take weeks to set up and take down the public is denied access to what should be public space.

"Last year’s Wireless Festival, which was held over two summer weekends, attracted crowds of 50,000 per day causing massive disruption, damage, excessive noise, and antisocial behaviour in streets surrounding the Park.

Relationships between the Friends group and the Council have long been frosty. But now it appears they are breaking down altogether with meetings being cut short or cancelled and now a legal challenge. A spokesman for the friends group said "We've tried everything to get Haringey Council to enter into discussions with us, but they refuse to listen, stopping all public consultation and ignoring stakeholder groups, local residents and park users".

The group is now launching a legal challenge to stop the Council staging the festival and similar major events in Finsbury Park. I am not clear at this stage what the basis of the legal challenge is, but I'm guessing the clue might well be in a recent statement:

Finsbury Park is a public park that was formed by virtue of the Finsbury Park Act 1857; it is registered as a Grade II Historic Park and Garden and is also Metropolitan Open Land.

The group say they will have to pay up to £35,000 plus VAT for issuing the proceedings and having a one day hearing in the High Court. To raise the required monies, a crowdfunfing page was set up on Monday. As of today the page has attracted over £5,000 funding, about 12% of the total amount they may require.

Alongside the preparations for the legal challenge, the friends group have also lodged an official objection to the festival. 

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

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It'll probably come down to the interpretation of "open space set apart or enclosed" which I imagine will only include areas that ticket holders, staff and performers have access to.
Interesting though that events in FP for years and years have been occupying approximately this space. I wonder if that sets some kind of a precedent?
You may have something there with the number of years the events have been in operation. Perhaps a legal challenge would have had to be submitted within a certain time period of the first oversized event (ie. More than one tenth of the park used)
There's that and also I would imagine it would be possible to point at events in other parks, like ones in Victoria Park in Hackney, which are subject to the same bit of legislation.
Ultimately, of course, the cost of defending this legal action would pale into insignificance in comparison to the claim Wireless could potentially sue for if the festival is cancelled ...maybe a couple of million

Well done for mentioning it. Victoria Park is my local one and I have been pondering for months as to why the similar events each summer in a comparable area don't provoke the same responses as the ones in Finsbury Park.

There is the same temporary damage to the grass, which is already looking fine. There is a bit of loud but not obtrusive music

The Friends seem to spend their time seeking lottery money and doing useful work around the park rather than pursuing Judicial Reviews.

To those who say (correctly) that Victoria Pk is twice the size of Finsbury I would counter that the eastern side of Victoria is in a very low density area. The stage area is close to residential properties and all amenities- although not the tube.

Why do Finsbury Park events arouse such passions??

It does seem to suggest that anything from fireworks at Ally Pally to the open air cinema in Fairland Park have all been illegal?

I find it interesting that the so-called friends haven't made an appearance on this thread. These self-elected guardians have a real problem with sharing a public space and use language that show they feel that the park is for their exclusive use, such as "our park".

In reality the big events only effect the park for 2 weeks in the summer. That is two weeks out of 52. During these festivals I run through the park 5 days of the week and on mid-week evenings the park is full of non-festival goers enjoying the summer and not affect by the event. People carry on having picnics, playing football, play in the playgrounds, exercise and use tight-ropes. The tag-rugby players move to Downhills for two weeks and then back to Finsbury Park after the festival.

The majority of people adapt for a short two weeks. Most don't even notice apart from a few middle class NIMBYs who have difficulty sharing and want to stop the majority having fun. I firmly believe that if the concerts were classical music events there would be less of a reaction from these "friends".

Well let's hope they aren't able to raise the funds they need. There was something that caught my eye on their crowd-funding page:

We will not incur all costs immediately as there are various stages in the proceedings, so the initial issue of proceedings will cost in the region of £8,000 plus VAT. If we lose at the end of the proceedings we will also have to pay the Council's costs but these will be limited to £10,000 as this is an environmental claim.

This is a very sad development. I have no problem looking at how the festival can be improved but it smacks me as an attempt at turning our area into a closed shop.

Young people have a stake in this area. Wireless festival is clearly popular and should be supported for that reason alone. The fact the council makes money out of it is a bonus. Personally I would like to see the council get a set percentage of tickets that can then go free to well performing students

There is a very limited amount of green space and not everyone has a garden to enjoy. I resent access to any part of the park being limited and when the festival is on the rest of the park is unbearable because its so loud. There are enough dedicated venues in London, there is no reason to deny people from using the park.

As for the money being spent on the upkeep of the park, where did this go exactly because it still looks very shabby to me.

I don't have a garden either but it's a couple of weeks a year. I presume you are there maybe 300 days a year.

Also just because I resent things doesn't mean it should be prevented.

Crazy argument right - so their right to access must go uninterrupted 365 even if it's to put on a show that is enjoyed by people in the area. Sense of entitlement astounds me and i bet they only been living here a few years.



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