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Events in Potters Field Park

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Thursday 9 June 2005 6.55am
Yesterday a film company had permission to use part of the park for filming a commercial. For most of the day the whole grassed are adjacent to the river walk and the GLA building was roped off and out of bounds to the public. This was the first really hot day for ages and people a lot of people would nornmally have been using the park for recreation.
With the new plans for the park it seems inevitable that many more events such as this will have to take place to pay for the maintenence and running of the park. I ,for one, am having doubts that this is really what local people want. Would it not be better to keep the park as it is i.e. mainly for the use of residents and office workers as a place to relax rather than a "world class park" which inevitably will have to have many more commecial events to pay for the addional upkeep?
I would appreciate other peoples comments.
Thursday 9 June 2005 7.49am
Exactly the same sort of debate that is going on over Jubilee Gardens, but the London Eye.

If Potters Fields is Southwark managed you could ask their events team for their events policy. For green spaces like Brockwell and Clapham Common, Lambeth have a clear events policy that acknowledges the need for balance, and so limits the size and frequency of commercial events.

The other thing is to set up a Friends group. There are some very organised voices along the South Bank, and it is difficult for local people's voices to be heard, let alone to be taken into account. Once you are organised you may be able to ask to be consulted on future events and on events policy. Plus this provides a mechanism to be consulted about future plans for the space.

If enough people can get together, you should be able to pick up help from Bankside Open Spaces Trust, who already involved in a number of green spaces within the area.

Thursday 9 June 2005 8.47am
Thanks Sarah
We are in the middle of setting up a mamagement trust to try to control all the things you have mentioned and take the reponsibility away from Southwar Parks and Events departments. However it looks as though the cost of running that will neccesitate many more events. It appears that it will be quite difficult to find a middle path which is suitable to everyone! Many thanks for your input though
Thursday 9 June 2005 11.04am
If it's for a few days a year (say less than 10 or so) and manages to raise revenue for the maintance of the park so that we can better enjoy it for the other 355 days of the year then why shouldn't it be let out occasionally?

It all depends on how often it is 'taken away' from public use. Do you have any figures on this?
Thursday 9 June 2005 1.05pm
I will have figures soon. At last count it was well over 30! and most of these would be in the summer. Will let you know when I get more info.
Thursday 9 June 2005 5.38pm
By closing Parks down for odd days, or restricting access, for commercial use is to state in effect that we don't really need a park at all. Does Tate Modern shut it's doors to the public to allow a film shoot to take place because it can raise money to fund itself?

Instead of having 30 events a year you could equally argue that you should sell off 10% of the land to fund it's upkeep. The net effect is the same.

Parks are open spaces set aside for a reason and should be funded by Council's from the council tax we all pay in my view. The fact that these parks are in high profile, lucrative locations is all the more reason not to hold commercial events on them. There's enough going on along the river already and we need space to relax in on the days that we choose.

I'm with Alan on this and believe a low cost park with less events is the most sensible way forward.
Thursday 9 June 2005 6.49pm
Hi Philip
Great to have your input and support. I got some info from PLP today but not the detailed business plan which I had expected. I'm away all next week so will not be posting for a while. It would be great if you could come to the next meeting of the shadow trust. At the moment I am the only one putting forward the views of locals and I really do need some suppport. Christopher Baggot was meant to be at the last meeting but did not turn up.
Friday 10 June 2005 8.46am

What happened to the proposals that came out over a year ago from Gross-Max consultants, whose designs seemed to want to do all things for all people (periscopes, decking, herbeacuous features, etc), with what appeared to be a lessening of the actual grass content?

Going to their website, I see it hasn't been updated in a year (in fact, they still have last year's "consultation" timetable).

Have things moved on since then?

Responding to Phil Oakley's comments, I would say that selling off 10% of the park is not the same as giving out the whole park for 10% of the time. Companies wish to hold events on the park primarily because of the size and location. For this they pay a premium. If they were offered only a small section of the park (eg. a 10% allocation), chances are less companies would even wish to hold their events there, with the net result of loss of income for the upkeep of the main park.

Additionally, although parks are indeed open spaces set aside for a reason and should be funded by Council's from the council tax we all pay, this is the utopia that doesn't get achieved with local council funding. Since each borough council is under political pressure to a) decrease council tax etc and b) increase spending elsewhere, then the easily skimped budgets get cut (as an example: since it's not urgent to repair the flag stones within those circular bits of Potters Fields, those repairs will probably never get done because the budget is continually being trimmed).
Friday 10 June 2005 7.40pm
Things have moved on a great deal since last year. The final Gross Max plans have been adopted and approved by the PLP and LDA subject to a satisfactory plan for maintaining the park after its sprucing up ( at a cost of 2.6 million pounds). There is a proposal to form a trust to be responsble for the park with a long lease from Southwark. However whilst I do not object to some events to pay for the upkeep of the park there is a danger that the new proposals will neccesitate many more events than are acceptable to locals who like to use the park as a park! I am away now for a week so will not be near a computer but will be happy to answer any questions on my return.
Friday 10 June 2005 8.09pm

Speaking only for myself, I would regret it if our public spaces were made unavailable for filming as I always find it pleasantly surprising to see parts of my city represented on films, and sometimes in adverts.

It was only very very recently that Southwark, and especially the north of the borough, was only in demand for grime, dereliction and decay. Now, with all the ferocious polishing going on, the borough attracts media interest from the opposite end of the spectrum.

In the none too distant future these vignettes will record the passage of time and the wave of change that has swept across the north of the borough. I would actually like to see a gathering together of such pieces of film to record another aspect of the borough's rich history.

Regards to all.

Niall Connolly
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