Once again, we are facing closure of a substantial part of the Park for much of July and August, the peak holiday season. The park remains nominally open to visitors but the resemblance to a building site is unlikely to appeal to those seeking calming open air pleasures.
The third in a series of stakeholder meetings was held this week with Council officers to update us on plans for this year’s 51st State event, scheduled the first weekend in August. Friends again pressed for measures to reduce impact on the park and neighbourhood.
Similar planning meetings have already taken place for the Elrow, Ghana and Mauritius events. The Council is intent on proceeding with all these events despite our serious objections to Elrow and 51st State.
51st State showed its disregard for LBE and due process by fielding a representative not briefed on many important issues. What we did learn is that 51st State will be a 2-day event on 1st and 2nd August. Set up will start on Monday 27th July and take down will run from 3rd to 5th August. During this period visitors can expect to encounter large trucks and much of the area normally used by families will be blocked off.
The capacity for the Saturday 51st State event will be up to the license limit of 17,500 revellers. The Sunday crowd at a new event (titled Metropolitan) will be up to 10,000. The Saturday event will end at 10pm and the Sunday event at 9pm.
Our historic Cockfosters gate remains severely damaged by contractors’ oversized vehicles some 8 months after last year’s events. We are pressing LBE to restrict vehicles to 3-5 tonnes maximum to prevent a third gate strike. Continuing to use 40 tonnes trucks is bound to cause more damage to gate and roadway. Repairing the gate is extremely expensive and our park hardly benefits when rusting scaffold, in place for months, is the only means of preventing it from collapsing.
Friends have stressed to LBE that uncontrolled noise from huge speaker systems is unacceptable to hundreds of residents living a mile or more from the park. We hope that further tightening of controls will abate this nuisance.
The Elrow event has been confirmed at 25,000 on Saturday 22nd August. With build and knock down it will be on site for most of the remainder of August. Their event plan says that no confetti will be discharged into the open area (limited solely to two big top stages) but the enclosed site will again close off Limes Avenue an extend into the northern meadow.
Ghana and Mauritius festivals. We are very disappointed to learn that the Ghana and Mauritius Festivals, instead of occurring over a single weekend this year in conformity with Council policy and its events strategy, will be split over the second and third weekends of July. The plan now is to leave some equipment in place during the intervening week further blocking public access to popular areas of the park. LBE has failed to control its licensees again and offered no credible explanation for its actions
Friends will know it is our policy to encourage community events in Trent Park so we welcome Ghana and Mauritius as proportionate to park facilities. Nonetheless the Friends have made a number of interventions to persuade organisers to reduce impact on traffic and noise nuisances.
The next Stakeholder Meeting is scheduled for 23rd August to debrief on the Ghana and Mauritius events. However, we have requested an earlier meeting in April to resolve pending operational issues and to discuss the new version of the Council’s Events Strategy, which is expected imminently.
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A report on last year’s events can be read here: CLARA Report on 2019 51st State & Elrow Town events