Wireless exposes disconnect between Bromley and neighbours

CROYDON COMMENTARY: The impact of the Wireless Festival in Crystal Palace Park last weekend, and its effect on residents in neighbouring boroughs has seen GLYNN McDONALD raise some serious questions of the park’s new trust

Fun in the sun: Around 150,000 concert-goers, paying around £70 per ticket, attended the Wireless Festival last weekend

The Wireless Festival staged in Crystal Palace Park last weekend saw 150,000 people over three days, road closures and noise audible for half a mile.

Bromley Council and its agent, the Crystal Palace Park Trust, take the cash from the event organisers, but they have a brilliant solution to complaints: it locates the festival in the far north of the borough and directs the noise at the neighbouring boroughs of Southwark and Croydon.

And the small number of Bromley residents affected all live in Labour voting wards…

There are serious questions about all of this.

Why did the council or the trust agree to this massive festival when it’s already known for the nuisance it caused when staged in north London? The Friends of Finsbury Park looked at taking their council to court to try and get it stopped. They must be celebrating now!

Val Shawcross: the chair of the Trust, which is accused of ‘privatising’ the park’s care

Why were objections to this year’s festival ignored when they included one from Bromley’s own Public Health and Nuisance team? They objected in September 2020 because “the information at this point is insufficient in detail for us as a local authority to make a judgement at this current time under the prevention of public nuisance”.

Why has Val Shawcross agreed to head an organisation which is privatising the care of the park? The Crystal Palace Park Trust boasts that income from the festival will help renovate the park’s disgusting toilets. Surely that is the least that Bromley should be taking care of?

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This entry was posted in Bromley Council, Business, Croydon parks, Crystal Palace Park, Crystal Palace Park Trust, Music, Val Shawcross and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Wireless exposes disconnect between Bromley and neighbours

  1. Ian Kierans says:

    Because Ms Shawcross knows quite well the amount of notice Croydon Council Executive takes of Noise Pollution complaints from it’s residents. Nil! response range from –

    Mon, Aug 23, 6:11 PM
    to me

    Thank you for your enquiry we will endeavour to respond as soon as possible, but due to high volume in emails it can take up to 10 days to respond.

    The pollution team no longer operate a direct telephone line and all complaints must be made to the pollution in box. We are triaging cases as they are received and urgent cases are passed to an officer within 2 hours where staffing is available.

    Via ”don’t you know we are bankrupt, send an email and someone may get back to you next week”

    ‘To – ”one should expect a level of noise pollution.”

    Amazingly a measured 138Db for 6 hours clearly was not triaged as urgent. In fact 9 months and waiting.
    Don’t even start on dust etc.
    Shocking that hard working council departments are so let down by their leadership and shoddy excuses of public servants.
    One could imagine it was all about making money So what if paring the cost of regulation, enforcement environment causes injury, harm, public nuisance well it does not matter – we are not going to fine ourselves are we? – cos there is no profit in that is there? but hey lets go for the pub or kids party that hits 90Db and make some cash.
    I am sure that is not what enters the Executive heads when they plan their cuts nor the intention, but there is sure a lot of reality to what actually happens.
    Maybe it is not a strong leader style council we need but a strong Council regulator!

    • I think you might be barking up the wrong tree, Ian.

      That’s because Crystal Palace Park is in Bromley and Val Shawcross hasn’t been a Croydon councillor for over 20 years.

      The people responsible for making all the noise were the organisers and promoters of Wireless, and their very naughty sound engineers.

      The people who should have set strict conditions – and maybe did – are Crystal Palace Park Trust.

      The people who should have enforced the noise regulations work for Bromley council.

      Presumably somebody complained to Bromley’s Public Health Nuisance team, who have an out-of-hours service that takes calls up to 1am each day. If so, we should be able to find out, from a friendly councillor or through a freedom of information request, what they are doing about it.

      • Ian Kierans says:

        You are probably right Arfur. One would expect a Croydon resident to have to complain to their own council – I wonder though if a resident of Croydon complains to a Neighboring Council of Noise pollution coming from their patch what their response would be?
        Previously we were told to make this to our own authority – has this changed?

    • Roger Sharp says:

      What utter tosh. 138Db would exceed the Guinness Book of Records loudest ever concert. It would cause irreparable damage within a short space of time. At what distance was this figure measured?

      It looks like 150,000 people had a good time. Only the voices that I see here are complaining about it. And it’s not as if it happens 365 days a year, but 3.

  2. Lewis White says:

    A key question is “How often will events of magnitude like this be held each year ?”.

    To be honest, a noisy event attended by a very large number of people (100,000 or so) might be OK a couple of times per year, but not every week or two.

    Could the NSC athletics stadium be used for events like this ? Or could it be adapted ?

    One thing is proved by Wireless. There is a ready audience in South London. If they are willing to spend £70 per ticket, that must be good for the income of the Park.

    The park needs income.

    And yes, those old toilets in the bottom end of the park, near the new cafe building down from the boating lake, are smashed up, stink, and are disgusting. They are literally, the bottom of the park.

    • 150,000 people all paying around 70 quid a ticket generates £10.5m income straight away. The operators might have other income streams, too.

      The park trust’s cut? You’d hope at least 10 per cent, meaning that they could hope to have a worthwhile budget for maintaining and improving the park with just one such event each year, plus a couple of more modest mass concerts.

      But they really do need to take their friends and neighbours with them…

      As for the athletics stadium, it’s a no-go. For a start, it’s too small compared to the mini-Glastonbury requirements of Wireless.

      And secondly, it’s too dangerous. A running event which was due to be staged there this coming weekend has been cancelled (controversially) because the old stand is too unsafe to have even modest numbers of people walking in and around it… So much for Seb Coe’s Olympic Legacy for London…

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