Haringey Council and Live Nation secure secret appeal deal in private meeting!

Haringey Council and Live Nation have secured a secret deal in a private meeting to ‘tweak’ the new licence conditions as applied by the Licensing Subcommittee and further amended at the Magistrates Court to the Live Nation licence.

Live Nation appealed against the imposition of new conditions by the Licensing Committee (LSC) in its decision of 22nd October and filed the appeal with Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court. The two main grounds of appeal were against the new noise conditions imposed on the licence and the earlier closing on Sunday, which were put forward by the Friends of Finsbury Park.

The directions hearing on Thursday 13 December 2018 at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court was adjourned to 8 January 2019.

In the meantime, however, we received a letter from the Council of 21 December that the Council (i.e. officers) had seen fit to instruct ‘an independent qualified noise consultant’ to advise on the proposed amendments to the noise conditions by Live Nation:

Following the lodging of the appeal, the Council engaged the services of an ‘independent qualified noise consultant’ to review the noise data and advise on the implications of the above noise conditions, both in terms of the effect on residents and the operation of the event.

With the benefit of this review of the technical noise position, the members of the Licensing SubCommittee which took the decision have been consulted and, in conjunction with the Council’s Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods, have endorsed the revised position on Conditions 107 and 31 set out below.

Neither we nor residents nor other councillors/neighbouring boroughs were consulted about this and we have not seen the noise evidence of the ‘independent qualified noise consultant’.

At the directions hearing, the Council and Live Nation advised the Court that they had now come to an agreement on the appeal and invited the Court to agree to a Consent Order in which amendments to conditions 31 in respect of low frequency and 107 in respect of music sound levels were agreed; Live Nation withdrew its appeal in every other respect.

The Council said that the amendments to condition 107 were in effect a tweaking by way of clarifying the intent of that condition as it relates to music levels and fully reflects the intention of the licensing sub-committee in the way it is now drafted; condition 31 was expressed in different terms but the Council maintained that it amounted to a significant reduction in low frequency noise ; the Council further asserted that they have the approval of the sub-committee chairs, the director and their own noise expert in relation to the amendments.

The Friends objected to the Court making the Consent Order as they had not had an opportunity to see the Council’s advice from the ‘independent qualified noise consultant’ and asked that the appeal take place so that they could test the noise evidence including that of the so far unseen advice from the noise expert for the Council.

The Court refused the Friends’ request, holding that on a brief investigation of the position the Court was satisfied that the Consent Order amending conditions 31 and 107 could properly be made in the public interest.

Although deeply dissatisfied with the secret nature of the private meeting in which the noise conditions were ‘tweaked’, The Friends are very pleased that by bringing the application for a review of the Live Nation premises licence used for Wireless, some 50 new or varied conditions have been added to the licence, including for the first time a maximum noise level and a low frequency noise condition. The Friends will be asking Haringey, Islington and Hackney Council to ensure that these conditions are now complied with.

To this end, we have asked Haringey Council to provide the following information:

  1. A copy of the final version of the up to date Licence incorporating all the amendments and new conditions.
  2. Confirm what steps the Council is taking to update the background noise levels contained in the Table of Approved locations in Condition 106 and confirm the location in Islington that is to be used.
  3. Confirm what steps the Council is taking in liaison with Live Nation in relation to the Informative ‘to explore the options to ensure that access to the Park is optimised throughout the period of Wireless, including its build up and pull down, so that the Park can be accessed and enjoyed by all’.
  4. Provide details of the Licences that apply to other events in Finsbury Park.

We have also asked Haringey Council to ensure all of the new licence conditions as applied by the Licensing Subcommittee and further amended at the Magistrates Court to the Live Nation licence, are consistent across all of the other licences at Finsbury Park. Currently, Haringey Council are suggesting that as the other licences were not subject to the review they are not affected by the outcome of the LiveNation review.

And Finally…

We have yet to receive a copy of the new Live Nation premises licence and have been told that we can expect to receive it by the end of March latest!

If you can, please contact your local councillors to ask them to ask Haringey Council why we haven’t got a copy of the new licence yet! Tweet about it too to spread the word.

Once again thank you to all of you who donated and helped us to raise funds towards the licence review hearing and our legal team. Although even with your help, we were unable to raise the full amount towards our legal fees.

To donate please click this link: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/wireless-festival-licence-review/

The Friends of Finsbury Park have instructed Susan Ring of Harrison Grant solicitors and barrister Charles Streeten of Francis Taylor Building, and noise expert Richard Vivian of Big Sky Acoustics.