Chief Executive: Sean Harriss
Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business and Culture: Councillor Jack Hopkins
During the discussion of this item, the guillotine fell at 9.00pm.
MOVED by the Chair, and:
RESOLVED: That in accordance with Council and Committee Procedures 9.5 – 9.7 set out in the constitution, the meeting continue for a further period of up to half an hour.
The report was introduced by the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business and Culture, Councillor Jack Hopkins, who noted that:
Marcus Hope, Chair of the Friends of Clapham Common (FCC), addressed the committee and explained that:
· The FCC membership agreed that it would be acceptable to hold eight major events on Clapham Common per year.
· The length of occupation of the events site was a serious concern for local residents. Event organisers should be charged more for set-up and take-down days, and required to repair any damage.
· Members of the FCC would prefer small, locally driven, family-oriented events on the site.
· Lambeth Council needed to provide better consultation and greater transparency on financial returns. An alternative (bidding) model should also be considered.
· The FCC welcomed new arrangements for the discussion of events at an early stage in the planning process.
· The Council could not afford to continue hosting the free Lambeth Country Show.
· Lambeth should seek permission from the Secretary of State before approving the erection of temporary structures on metropolitan commons.
Simon Millson, Chair of the Clapham Common Management Advisory Committee (CCMAC), addressed the committee and explained that:
· The report made no reference to the legal distinction between parks and commons. Commons were regulated by the Commons Act which enshrined that common land was unenclosed. Events caused the enclosure of parts of Clapham Common.
· The Commons Act limited the amount of commercial activity that could take place on Clapham Common. The intensification of revenue-generating activity could be illegal under the Commons Act.
· The CCMAC welcomed the proposed early consultation exercise.
· The definition of ‘major events’ remained ambiguous and needed to be clarified. Ill-defined events could have significant impacts on the environment and local community.
· The impact assessments should take account of the total use of a common at any one time rather than solely the impact of the event in question.
· Penalties should be introduced for commercial operators that had contravened their agreements.
Richard Payne from the Streatham Common Co-operative (SCCoop) addressed the committee and explained that:
· Events currently caused a high level of disruption to the lives of local residents and the proposed strategy would allow for a significant increase in noise levels.
· The Council should commit to publish the noise limits for each event within the events calendar.
· Residents were concerned with the level of disruption to be caused on weekends directly preceding GCSEs and other exams. Events should not be allowed on weeknights during term time.
· The revenue generated by events was used to fund the Lambeth Country Show rather than support community-based events. A full independent review was required to assess the value for money provided by the Lambeth Country Show.
· The commissioning, policing and spending related to Lambeth events should not be controlled by a single team. An alternative team should be given the responsibility to make final recommendations on events.
· Established local groups with existing relationships with the Council should be granted full control over funding which is redistributed towards the improvement of local parks.
· The Events Strategy should be initially adopted as a two year trial period.
· It remained unclear whether local friends groups would continue to be able to use commons and parks free of charge.
Jean Kerrigan, Vice Chair of the Lambeth Parks and Green Spaces Forum, addressed the committee and explained that:
· The Lambeth Parks and Green Space Forum welcomed the introduction of an Events Strategy and supported the principle of safe, popular, community-based events in Lambeth. However, the chief function of a public park was not to generate revenue.
· Green spaces were primarily designed for the improvement of community wellbeing and this should have constituted a central pillar of the strategy.
· The strategy did not sufficiently reference the ecological integrity of Lambeth’s green open spaces.
· Further detail was required regarding the proposed Community Events Fund.
· Whilst the proposed PIL was welcomed, it would provide no substitute for a properly funded parks service. The Council should reconsider the cuts to the open parks budget.
· Greater community involvement should be facilitated through forum members.
· Greater transparency on financial returns was required. It remained unclear whether parks would benefit directly from hosting filming activities.
· There was great concern about the number of events and the amount of time used for setting up and breaking down structures.
· Smaller parks could not always afford the requisite insurance of £5m required by the proposed strategy. This figure should be reconsidered.
The Chair acknowledged the amount of comments and requested that officers responded to most points in writing. The Director of Policy and Communications, Jullian Ellerby, also provided the following verbal responses to issues raised by registered speakers:
· The Community Events Fund would be an annual amount of money that could be bid for by local groups.
· Accountability, planning, governance were all key themes that would be properly considered by officers when progressing with the Events Strategy. In particular, work would be carried out to provide efficient timetabling and transparency of financial returns. It was important to maintain accountability regarding the reinvestment of money generated through events in Lambeth.
· Advice surrounding the legality of the Events Strategy had been sought from central government. Written clarification of this would be provided in due course.
· More detail would be provided about the definitions of events and how these responded to different settings. The proposed framework would provide a new limit to the amount of event days and the Council sought to diversify the types of events in line with community preferences.
Lou Muscat, a resident of Windmill Drive, addressed the committee and raised the following points:
· Residents of Windmill Drive took the brunt of any event held on Clapham Common and each event had a devastating impact on residential amenity.
· Mr Muscat had previously been given assurances by the Council but the problem was now worse than ever.
· Local people could not tolerate further events on Clapham Common.
Fred Uhde, a local resident, addressed the committee and raised the following points:
· The current noise level of events in Lambeth was excessive and beyond those set by similar London boroughs. There was no evidence to suggest that the proposed limit of 75dB was suitable for events in the borough.
· Similarly, the proposed bass limit of 80dB was too high and needed to be reduced.
The Ward Councillor for Streatham Wells, Councillor Amélie Treppass, addressed the committee and raised the following points:
· Councillor Treppass fully supported the principle of holding events in Lambeth’s public spaces and noted the importance of their income generation. However actions were required to mitigate the impact of events on residents.
· The noise consultation, as an evidence base, appeared flawed on the grounds that it was not advertised in accordance with Lambeth’s standard consultation procedures and quantitative data had been extracted from qualitative research methods. Ward Councillors who took part in the Culture 2020 consultation had also not been notified on the 2016 noise consultation.
· It was misleading to represent the sound limit as an increase from 70dB to 75dB. Varying pre-existing levels of background noise meant that for some areas the increase would be more significant. The proposed increase to 75dB was unnecessary.
· The report’s definition of a ‘major event’ was ambiguous and it was not clear whether it referred to 15,000 or 20,000 people per day.
· The Council had a responsibility to protect local residents against litter, anti-social behaviour and public urination associated with events.
The Ward Councillor for Clapham Common and Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Tim Briggs, raised the following points:
· The report indicated that 83 per cent of people were opposed to the Events Strategy.
· It was unclear whether the Community Events Fund would work in the interests of local residents.
· Local residents in Clapham Common experienced a serious loss of residential amenity as a result of the events.
· The proposed increase in the limit of bass was unacceptable.
· The Council’s need to raise revenue was not a justifiable argument in support of the Events Strategy.
At 21:00 the committee elected to suspend standing orders and extend the meeting for a further 30 minutes in order to consider the remaining items of business.
Following the representations of registered speakers, Cabinet Members made the following comments and observations:
· A clear Events Strategy was required to set the parameters within which commercial operators could hold events. It should provide a consistent approach to event organisation and a formal process for community engagement.
· There remained areas for improvement and the implementation of the strategy had to be handled properly. This included the monitoring of noise levels across the borough.
· There were lessons to be learned from festivals recently held in Brockwell Park.
· The issue to noise was key to maintaining a fair balance between events and the safeguarding of residential amenity.
· Resources needed to be redistributed directly to local communities. It was also important that small, diverse local groups benefitted from the strategy.
· Young people needed to be able to enjoy themselves and for many residents, events held in local parks was a large part of how they accessed public spaces.
· Lambeth’s central London setting needed to be taken into account by local residents.
· Commercial operators of badly run events were told they could not return to Lambeth.
· The free Lambeth Country Show was value-driven and underpinned the entire Events Strategy.
The Director of Policy and Communications, reaffirmed that written responses would be provided in response to points raised by registered speakers. Officers would particularly take action to enhance the themes of planning, governance, accountability and enforcement throughout the Events Strategy.
The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business and Culture, Councillor Jack Hopkins, summarised by noting that the collective wisdom of local communities and Ward Councillors would be used as a driving force behind the organisation and improvement of future events in Lambeth. The strategy should work to penalise commercial operators that breached their agreements and as a result help to improve the responsibility of the industry.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Lib Peck, then proposed to approve the Events Strategy in line with the recommendations outlined in the report subject to officers working through the following issues prior to implementation:
· Bass and noise level testing.
· Close collaboration with residents and friends of parks to shape pre-conditions for events.
· Commitment to review the Events Strategy two years after implementation.
· Protecting children and young people against the impact of events during exam periods.
· Provision for enforcement.
(1) To approve the implementation of the new Events Strategy 2016-2020 including all its key components:
a) Licensing of the five main Parks and Open Spaces in Lambeth; Kennington Park, Clapham Common, Brockwell Park, Streatham Common and Norwood Park;
b) Delivery of a programme of a maximum of eight major event days in each of the five zones of Lambeth;
c) The introduction of a new Sound Guidance Policy including increasing the levels for only the major events in line with other Parks and Open Spaces in London;
d) Generating Income for Council and the introduction of a Parks Investment Levy. By charging more for high quality commercial events which goes back to the community to support local events and spaces;
e) Creating a funding pot that community events can bid for and training to those community groups creating a skill base for the future; and,
f) Keep the annual Lambeth Country Show free.