More than 150 residents have blasted a decision made by Tower Hamlets Mayor, Lutfur Rahman and his cabinet, which will see the number of major event days increase in Victoria Park. In November 2023, Rahman and his cabinet members from the Aspire Party approved a report that will see the number of major event days in the park increase from 10 to 12 each year.
The move will also see the capacity threshold for these event days rise from a minimum of 5,000 people to 20,000 people. Over the years, Victoria Park has been at the heart of many popular music festivals, including Lovebox and All Points East, where the likes of Stormzy, The Strokes and Aphex Twin performed earlier this summer.
Rahman said the council had no choice but to rent out the park as another way to make money. But the plans did not go down well with local councilors from the Labor and Green Party, who were worried about the local population and the impact on the environment of the park as a local green space.
A petition has now been signed by 160 people knocking down the plans and will be presented by residents at next week’s council meeting (Wednesday 24 January). Residents have called for the council to carry out a consultation with residents and stakeholders on the mayor’s plans for the park, which they have called a “terrible idea”.
The petition reads: “This is a terrible idea that would destroy our park, our neighborhood and our environment. It would mean more noise, more traffic, more waste and more pollution in our area. It would also mean less access and less enjoyment of the park for us, especially for our families and children who need the park during the summer holidays.”
The petition continued: “We cannot let this happen. We must stand up for our park, our rights and our voice. We are campaigning to keep the number of large events as it is with all mitigation measures for residents in place.” When Local When the Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) contacted the council for comment, a spokesperson said they understand the concerns and remain “absolutely committed” to working with community group Victoria Park Friends and ensuring the events cause little disruption to park users and local residents.
They said: “The proposed changes would enable a wider range of events to be considered by the council and boost local businesses and provide a wider range of things for local people to do and enjoy in the park. As part of the Major Events Programme . ., both the council and the event organiser, proactively engage with residents and the Friends group through consultation meetings specific to the event programme.”