Stroud Green Councillor Laura Edge has welcomed assurances from Haringey Council’s Parks Department that it will consult on the future use of Finsbury Park for large scale commercial concerts.

The assurance came at a meeting of Haringey Council’s General Purposes Committee on Tuesday 7 June to approve a licence for the Mean Fiddler’s Big Gay Out which will take place in the park on Saturday 23 July.

The Mean Fiddler has had contracts with Haringey Parks Department to stage large scale commercial concerts and other events in the Park since the earlier 1990s. Over the years the events have caused many problems in relation to litter, noise and damage. In addition, they result in a large portion of the Park being sealed off to local users for days either side of the events.

The management of individual events has improved in response to years of pressure from residents, park users and local Lib Dem councillors. However, residents, park users and other stakeholders remain angry that they have not had the opportunity to debate whether the Park should be used for such large-scale commercial events in the first place, and, if so, on what terms.

Concern about the use of the Park for such events has also led to fears it will undermine the improvements currently being made to the Park under a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Lib Dem Cllr Laura Edge (Stroud Green) comments:

“I am pleased to hear that the Council intends to consult on the use of Finsbury Park for large-scale commercial concerts. For too long the Park has been treated as a cash cow for the rest of the Parks Service rather than the vital community asset that it is.”

In a further development at the meeting, the managing director of the Mean Fiddler, Melvin Benn, agreed to look at the possibility of restricting the closure of the Richard Hope Play Space, commonly known as the Pit, to one day on the day of the event itself.

Laura Edge adds:

“The Pit is a fantastic play-space which brings hours of enjoyment to local children. Every year there is great disappointment when it is closed to make way for the concerts. If the Mean Fiddler can restrict the closure to one day it would be very welcome, provided of course that the space is fully cleaned up afterwards.”