After an unsatisfactory response from Haringey Council to our pre-action letter, we have now issued judicial review proceedings. The Council must now respond in full to all of our enquiries as quickly as possible. The response is unsatisfactory because:
- The Council has made only a limited response to the detailed grounds as to why the consultation process was unlawful nor why they do not have the power to hold the Festival; one would have expected a much fuller response than the one provided.
- They have not provided the documents requested i.e. a) Festival application documents in full and unredacted; b) any planning consents and c) emails etc between the Council and Wireless Festival.
- You can download and view the Claim Form here
- You can download and view the full facts and grounds here
The next step in the process is for the Council and Wireless to respond to the claim; we have asked for the parties to agree that this matter be expedited so that the Council and Wireless provide their evidence and summary/detailed grounds for defence at an earlier stage than usual. We have also asked that the permission stage be skipped so that the hearing of the judicial review be a combination of the permission for judicial review and the substantive judicial review at a ‘rolled up hearing’ and will be heard in one go. We have asked the Council and Wireless to agree to directions for the future progress of the proceedings in line with the above, but have so far heard nothing from them other than an email from the Council acknowledging receipt of the proceedings.
Now we need your help more than ever to raise money for the next stage of our legal challenge, so please:
- Pledge whatever you can on: www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/save-finsbury-park/
- Share our page: www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/save-finsbury-park/ on Facebook and Twitter, and ask your friends to pledge and spread the word.
- Forward this information to anyone you know who cares about protecting London’s parks today and for generations to come, and ask them to get involved and show their support by pledging and sharing our link.
- Please pledge now on: www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/save-finsbury-park/
Even in the light of a judicial review, the Council are attempting to secure yet more major events in the park. Kept very quiet from local residents, there are licensing notices up on the gates of Finsbury Park for a weekend of rave and drum & bass festivals on the 25th and 26th September with Park closures for up to two weeks. The organisers, Radioactive Clothing Ltd, are also applying for a ten year license to run four of these events per year with over 15,000 people per event. These four events would likely close large areas of the Park for up to six weeks or more.
We know parks budgets are being slashed, but if we are to secure the future of our green spaces, we must look at alternative ways to bring in income and expand our ideas to look at community based park management schemes, new partnerships and events that are more appropriate for the spaces they are in and don’t exclude local people.
These ideas will form the foundations for a better, more sustainable future for all parks. Haringey Council must realise that a new kind of approach is needed if our parks are to survive. There must be more community involvement, and a realisation that working with conservation groups like The Friends of Finsbury Park can help.
Mega music festivals such as Wireless hosted in the cramped, urban environment of Finsbury Park, will slowly take over, damaging the fabric of the Park and exclude Park users for years to come if they are allowed to continue. Yes, the Council should be looking at the potential for Finsbury Park to generate income in an era of reduced public sector cuts, but very careful planning is required to ensure there is no over commercialisation of the Park and activities. The Council must rethink what they are doing in the Park and treat it with the respect it deserves.
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