Agenda item

Events Scrutiny Commission Action Plan Update

Contact for information: Kevin Crook, Assistant Director Neighbourhoods (Parks, Leisure and Cemeteries),0207 926 8973, kcrook@lambeth.gov.uk

Minutes:

Councillor Mary Atkins, Chair of the Commission and Vice-Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee, introduced the report, stating that the Commission had concluded two years earlier and this was the final update.  The recommendations had a significant impact on officers, Councillors and residents, including Friends’ Groups, in terms of the way parks were used and how groups related to each other.  She thanked officers for their positive reception to the Commission and its recommendations.

 

The Committee then heard from witnesses.

 

The Chair read a statement from Councillor Nigel Haselden, Commission Member, raising the following points:

·         One of the key aims of the Commission was to strengthen existing practices and policies, and many of the recommendations had been accepted.  The action plan set a framework for maximising the benefits from events.

·         A major part of the evidence base for the Commission was the day-long stakeholders’ summit, which brought different groups together to discuss their concerns around the use of parks for events in a constructive manner.

·         Parks for London had recently judged Lambeth to have the best green spaces of all 32 London boroughs, and this was a credit to the work of the Commission and officers.

Councillor Linda Bray then addressed the Committee, stating the following:

·         Many residents near Clapham Common had concerns about the damage to the Common caused by events and the potential enclosure of the events site for weeks at a time.

·         She questioned how much local businesses benefited from events.

·         There were concerns that the use of Clapham Common for events could be contrary to legislation.

 

Officers then provided the following information in response to questions from Members:

·         The action plan formed the framework for events in parks and would be used as events returned to normal in 2022.  Some recommendations, such as those around disability access, applied to parks generally and were not specific to events.

·         There was an ongoing process regarding the need for Secretary of State approval for Temporary Event structures on Clapham and Streatham Commons.  Officers had a good relationship with the Planning Inspectorate, with a planning consultant on board to support the 2022 application. The Planning inspectorate had indicated that if consent was granted for 2022, it could be possible to submit multiple-year applications for 2023 onwards.

·         While park usage remained high in 2021, it had decreased from the significantly higher levels seen during the lockdowns of 2020, and there was no evidence of a long-term change in the way residents used parks.

·         2022 would be the first year of using the framework and audit process, and officers would work with event organisers on-site to monitor adherence to the framework.  Outcomes would be monitored after events, and if there were failings, officers would explore the most effective ways of ensuring targets would be met in future years.

·         The safety of park users was not part of the Commission’s focus, but was included in the Events Strategy. As part of a wider area of work on safer spaces, officers had undertaken a review of safety of public places, including parks.  Funding for lighting and CCTV on Clapham Common and Rush Common had been secured as a result of this review.

·         The Events team had worked with Licensing to ensure a condition was now required for ingress and egress plans, and for security staff to be trained on the safety of women and young people.  Stewards were required for large events.

·         There had been limited opportunities for job opportunities linked to events in 2020 and 2021, but efforts were in place to improve this in 2022 and beyond.  There was a programme for young people in the local area to gain work experience at events held in Brockwell Park, with Lambeth Made and Elevate finding suitable candidates.  There was a focus on jobs associated with events more widely, not just on-site, such as with promoters and organisers. This programme would be a pilot in 2022, with the aim of increasing the offer in future years.

 

Members of the Committee thanked officers and Commission Members for their efforts, both during the Commission and in building on the recommendations.

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the Committee welcomes the response to the Commission report and the action plan.

2.    That job opportunities relating to events be maximised, particularly in disadvantaged areas such as Tulse Hill.

3.    That the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on events continue to be reviewed, and that the appropriateness of the framework be considered.

4.    That the Committee requests that the Council prioritise personal safety in parks, both during events and normal use, in light of the murder of Sarah Everard and continuing youth violence.

5.    That the Council listens and engages with key stakeholders to minimise and mitigate against potential negative impacts from events.

 

Supporting documents: