|Opposition to Gunnersbury Park Licensing Changes Grows|
Neighbours oppose increasing commercialisation of park
Image - Maggi Marmion
Opposition is mounting from residents over Hounslow Council's licensing changes which will allow Gunnersbury Park to host more commercial events.
Neighbours believe it will result in more noise and disruption and say local authorities shouldn't be using public parks to raise money. Ealing & Acton Conservative councillors are threatening to appeal.
This Premises Licence replaces a previous one which was voluntarily suspended in 2016 in order to apply for a new one which Hounslow Council says more fully reflects its Leisure and Cultural Strategy "to maximise the Borough's potential to provide cultural opportunities."
They want the Park to raise money by hosting commercial events, following its restoration. Gunnersbury park has hosted large events before including the London Mela which takes place again this year on September 3rd.
Hounslow's decsion is not popular locally and a petition has been set up calling for changes to ensure that no events go on after 9pm, there are a fewer number of large events than the 4 melas and 4 beer festivals currently proposed, 21 days respite between events in the western playing fields and permission for small events to have a bar.
Petition organisers say '' A licence should mark the bounds of what is acceptable, and Hounslow have shown what a low opinion they have of this area. Let’s show them this neighbourhood deserves better!''
'' The community is more than the big events organisers and sports clubs. People use the park daily to walk their dogs, go for a run, fly kites, ride their bikes or sit and relax.
The Council said, "Although London Borough of Hounslow is seeking to maximise Gunnersbury Park's potential as a cultural venue, a maximum limit to the number of days this licence can be utilised will be set at 283."
The management of Gunnersbury Park had been planning to use the facilities for outdoor public events, including possible music concerts.
This does not necessarily mean large scale events will be taking place on a regular basis although the likelihood is that there will have to be some commercial events, large or small, to help the facility pay its way.
A draft Events Policy is currently being finalised and some useful information and background on the matter can be read here with regard to plans for community, charity and commercial events of varying sizes.
The park is owned jointly by Hounslow and Ealing Councils and run by a Community Interest Company (CIC), whose purpose is to run Gunnersbury for the benefit of the community.
An Ealing Council spokesperson said, ''Gunnersbury Park is currently undergoing an exciting restoration, which will benefit of the community and mean that local people will be able to enjoy this wonderful green space long into the future. This new licence will allow wider community use of the park, and any income generated from commercial events will support its ongoing operating costs.''
August 17th 2017 (updated)