Residents in Addington Village are filing lengthy objections to a licence application which, if the council allows, could see more than 11,000 festival-goers descend on a Croydon conservation area for a “mini Glastonbury” over a single weekend in August.
But some say that objectors are being put off lodging their complaints to the application because the council will pass on their details – including their names and addresses – to the company applying for the licence or the festival organisers, Garage Nation.
The licence application is for “Supply of Alcohol, Provision of Films, Live Music, Recorded Music, Performance of Dance, and Provision of anything of similar description to live music, recorded music or performance of dance,” and has been submitted by Butterfly Enterprise Ltd, a new company with no previous trading history. The application is for two days, August 14 and 15.
Well-known festival organisers Garage Nation are selling tickets online for an event which has yet to be granted a licence. Tickets for both days can cost a total of £72.
“The location of the proposed music festival is completely unsuitable, especially as it has recently been awarded conservation area status alongside Addington Village itself,” one resident told Inside Croydon.
Only covid-19 prevented a large-scale event being staged in Addington Park in June last year. Then, Garage Nation started selling tickets for that event back in December 2019, and long before the council, as the licensing authority, had granted approval.
There was more than a sense of it all being a done-deal, regardless of what local residents, or the police, might have to say about the matter. Croydon’s cash-strapped council would, of course, have received a hefty cheque from the promoters for the use of the park.
The council slipped its own licensing application, for staging of events and the sale of alcohol in Addington Park and the Purley Way playing fields, through on the quiet last September. The matter was never raised, explained nor discussed at any public council meetings, and councillors for the wards concerned – both Labour and Conservative – were never consulted directly.
Phone calls from councillors to the council’s licensing office, seeking more information, went unanswered. Emails received no reply.
Some councillors described council officials’ actions over their licence as “underhand behaviour”.
Croydon has staged music festivals and other large-scale events before, but usually in Lloyd Park, which is larger, is closer to the town centre, has better public transport links and is further removed from residential areas than Addington Park. It is also not in a counci-designated conservation area.
Last year, the first that the Addington Village Residents’ Association knew about the proposed festival was when they were contacted by the Metropolitan Police, who were seeking their support as they expressed reservations over the Garage Nation event.
“The potential for organised drug gangs was a big factor,” the resident stated.
Policing such events has obvious budget and staffing issues for the Met, who were firmly against the festival last year. In 2021, they have told residents that with current resources, they would be unable to control the expected crowds and would need to rely on assistance from outside the borough.
Addington residents fear that the trams will be overwhelmed by the volume of festival-goers. “It would take at least 24 trams – over the course of six hours, from the 10pm finish of the concert until 4am – for so many people to vacate the area,” said one.
“That’s a sure recipe for unrest and safety issues, given some people will have been drinking for hours on end.”
The Garage Nation website recommends their customers to take the tram. “Trams are the best way to get to Addington Park… We suggest the tram as a preferred way to travel as it’s easier and located very close to the festival site.”
Locals are also concerned by Garage Nation’s track record. In 2018, four men suffered stab wounds during a fight in the VIP area at a Garage Nation-organised festival in Hainault Forest Country Park. Two needed to be airlifted to hospital, with one said to have suffered “life-changing injuries”.
But perhaps most insidiously of all is the council’s demand for full disclosure of the name and address of anyone lodging an objection to the application. “For whatever reason they also seem intent on supplying these details to the applicant,” said one resident.
“At first sight this would appear to be a breach of GDPR rules but, in any case, it opens up the real possibility of intimidation from parties unknown.” For any objection lodged without name and address, the council says it will disregard the complaint.
Robert Ward, one of the councillors for Addington Village, said today, “Residents have well-founded concerns on such a large event being held in a designated conservation area.
“Moving so many people safely out of the area at the end of each day, police and security coordination and the clearing of litter both inside and outside the park must be addressed when this application comes before the licensing committee.
“Croydon Council and local residents must not be left with a bill to clean up and repair damage to this important heritage site.”
- To view the licensing application, click here.
- To make a representation regarding the application, you need to write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your representations must relate to at least one of the following licensing objectives: the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; the protection of children from harm.
- The deadline for representations is midnight on June 1, next Tuesday.
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