This year (2018) our local Harrow Lodge Park was subjected to two hideous instances of corporate exploitation. The flats can be viewed as luxurious, they are spaciously built to “Parker Morris” standards and with an envious view over the park to the City of London sky line. Over the last thirty or so years that we have lived in the flats we have become used to the Havering Town Show being staged on the park with all its attendant noise and parking nuisance every August Bank Holiday but this year two substantial differences have been made. First was the so called ‘Soul Music ‘ event held over the weekend Friday 15th to Sunday 17th June. This music event produced (without any prior notice) to we residents started around noon on the Friday and left many of our elderly residents distraught.
The noise was absolutely unbearably loud. The activity was at the east end of the park, where a large temporary building and stage was constructed. There was also a huge sophisticated lighting pinnacle erected to illuminate the area where the venue was going to take place. The weather on that Friday was warm but all surrounding houses and flats had to keep their windows shut, to dampen the noise. On Saturday the event was worse starting at eleven-thirty a.m. finally ending nine and a half hours later. Sunday was slightly better as there was only four hours of music in the afternoon.
Later we learned all the surrounding area was subjected to the non-stop ear splitting, noise. So it was not just foisted on hundred and forty seven families that live in such close proximity, to the park. Worse: the excellent weather continued and we were forced to keep our windows and balcony doors shut. That didn’t stop the organisers from inflicting the awful noise almost non-stop. In speaking to other Havering residents I heard they also regretted and resented the noise nuisance and that was by people living several miles away. I’m assuming that permission to hold the event had been approved by the council and I would be curious to know if the event organisers paid money to the council for using the park? Certainly ordinary residents of the Borough could not enjoy the usual quiet enjoyment of the park and its surroundings. I think this reckless way of letting out our civic leisure space could mark the beginning of a slippery slope where Havering Council’s into privatising Harrow Lodge Park.
This leads to the conclusions, that (a) someone at the Council had prior knowledge of what was planned and (b) that that person or person/s were negligent in consulting with our organisation, that manages these three nearby tower blocks, that have been in the vicinity of the park for the last fifty years.
That privatisation thought was then supported when in this year’s August Town Show. The format of the event has changed dramatically, with loud wall to wall music. The difference this year was the weather was inclement, and as a consequence very few people turned up to the show. That however did not stop the event organisers from blaring out the music.
What will be next, fencing off the park perimeter, declaring the park as the council’s entertainment centre and charging the public to walk on the grass?