Followers of East End politics will have become accustomed to reading outbursts in recent weeks from the Opposition over the holding of parties and festivals in local parks.
Don’t get me wrong, residents are right to be concerned about the potential impact of too many events and possible damage to the landscape left behind by heavy vehicles and apparatus. This can impact on the enjoyment of our parks and is obviously of concern to local residents. Those concerns are clearly my first priority.
That’s why I’ve worked hard to ensure that we get the balance right.
We desperately need the money that these events bring in, particularly in the current climate with this vicious Conservative government cutting public services here in Tower Hamlets.
But equally, our parks must not be over used by those organising festivals and parties. That’s why we ARE limiting the scale and frequency of events. Aside from the small-scale parties, mainly marriage receptions, that we envisage taking place in the parks on the Isle of Dogs, the big festivals in Victoria Park only happen once a year. In all of this we want to hear from you the public as to how you want to see your parks used.
What leaves a sour taste in the mouth is that some of the complainants are clearly being disingenuous. Labour group leader, Cllr Josh Peck, didn’t kick up a fuss when he was my Cabinet Member for Resources. On the contrary, he was glad of the revenue each year as he set his budget.
And just days before Josh and Cllr Bill Turner flooded the social media networks with their manufactured outrage over the damage caused by a music festival; their group representatives on the licensing committee gave the go-ahead to the Live Nation event in Victoria Park as part of our Olympic host borough programme of events.
Clearly, like me, they saw the importance of allowing our young people to be part of the Olympics when they come to London in a few weeks time. Clearly, they knew it would be unfair for residents in Hackney to have a good time at Hackney Weekend whilst next-door, Tower Hamlets residents had to put up with the congestion without being involved in the fun. AND fun it will be: there are plenty of free tickets for local residents and as well as music and entertainment, there will be big screens to watch the games live. I look forward to seeing councillors Peck and Turner there!