Winterville withdraws bid to run festival in Haggerston Park over neighbours' complaints
PUBLISHED: 10:31 29 September 2017
The odds of a white Christmas in Haggerston Park have been slashed after Winterville withdrew its planning bid to run the annual Christmas festival there.
Victoria Park hosted the “pop-up town” in 2014 and 2015 but this year Winter East, which puts on the event, wanted to move more centrally.
Its founder, Marcus Weedon – who also co-founded Field Day – wanted planning permission to install entertainment tents, a 250-seat cinema, crazy golf course, roller disco and market stlls in the park off Queensbridge Road.
The planning application, which has now been withdrawn, stated as many as 20,000 visitors could rock up on busy days. An application for an annual licence to serve alcohol at the site until 10pm for 39 days every year is also being withdrawn.
Members of community group Save Haggerston Park are happy the organisers have backed down – for this year, at least. They had accused the council of treating the park as a commercial resource.
A spokesman said: “We are cautiously celebrating with the slogan ‘local park for local people’. The council and Winterville have tested the water and found it to be a little too hot for their liking, but they may well be back. Be warned – they claim it’s family entertainment but in fact it was an adult oriented, office-party service.”
Cllr Barry Buitekant said he welcomed Winter East’s decision. “It saves local residents and park users from suffering weeks of noise and anti-social behaviour,” he said.
Members of the group responded favourably on Facebook, with one saying, “Thank gawd for that.”
“Well done and a big thanks to all who helped stop this total ridiculousness,” added Lolly James. “People power – it really works,” added Domenico Bergonzi.
A spokesman for Winterville said: “We have encountered objections from a small number of local residents and our preference is always to resolve community concerns where possible. Unfortunately there would not have been time to carry out the additional community engagement we would have wanted and we have therefore decided to withdraw the application so that we have more time to engage with and address these concerns.
“Winterville is a family and community experience centred around food, drink and entertainment for local residents, all ages and all types of people.”