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Winterville: 31-day festival could be held in Haggerston Park instead of Victoria Park – and neighbours aren’t happy

PUBLISHED: 18:26 12 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:19 13 September 2017

Winterville in 2015 when it was held in Victoria Park

Winterville in 2015 when it was held in Victoria Park

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Winterville’s bid to hold its annual Christmas festival in Haggerston Park has been met with fury, with objectors complaining about 31 days of ‘booze, loud music and daily crowds of up to 20,000’.

Winterville in 2015 when it was held in Victoria ParkWinterville in 2015 when it was held in Victoria Park

Victoria Park hosted the “pop-up town” in 2014 and 2015, but this year Winter East, which puts on the event, is vying to move more centrally. Marcus Weedon, who also co-founded Field Day, wants planning permission to install entertainment tents, a 250-seat cinema, crazy golf course, roller disco and market stlls in the park off Queensbridge Road.

Winter East also wants a licence to serve alcohol there until 10pm for 39 days every year – starting on November 23. The application states as many as 20,000 visitors could rock up on busy days.

Community group Save Haggerston Park, which also objected to Hackney Council putting a secondary school temporarily in the park this month, is not impressed. “The park is one of the most intensively used in London, and the council treats it as a commercial resource rather than a park, constantly chipping away at it and looking for ways to develop it for profit,” said a spokesman.

Organisers state the festival was “well received” in Victoria Park. The licensing application vows live amplified entertainment “won’t be programmed for the full duration of each day”, while complaints from previous events spurred organisers to set up a “resident hotline”. “The event organisers will implement the same system for these events,” they promise.

Winterville 2015Winterville 2015

Comments will be taken on the licensing application until Wednesday and the planning consultation ends on October 4.

A spokesman for Winterville told the Gazette today: “We would prefer it if you held off on speaking about this. We aren’t in a position to say Winterville will be going ahead. The event hasn’t been announced to take place there.”

She added she was “not in a position to respond to the residents’ concerns” either: “We are in the early stages of having that conversation. Tonight there is a community consultation meeting, inviting councillors and groups to discuss the potential of Winterville coming to Haggerston Park.” 
The festival would run from November 24 to Christmas Eve, with the park fenced off for and extra eight days to set up and dismantle the site.

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