HARINGEY – FINSBURY PARK
Friends get a legal review of Over-Exploitation by Events
Protect London’s Parks Please link to our Crowdfunding page – www.crowdjustice.com/case/protectlondonsparks London parks are under threat Across the capital, parks are becoming increasingly neglected by a number of councils and local authorities, who see them as venues available for private hire rather than as open spaces for the enjoyment of all the community.
The Friends of Finsbury Park have launched a London-wide fundraising campaign to protect London’s most historic parks by challenging the legal basis on which councils say they have the power to hire out large parts of their public parks for an unlimited period of time for commercial events, sending a message to local authorities that land-grabbing in parks, and excluding the public is not a sustainable long-term model for preserving London’s parks for future generations.
The Friends brought judicial review proceedings to challenge the continued over-use of the park for private and commercial events, but the challenge was refused by Mr Justice Supperstone in the High Court. The Court of Appeal has now granted the Friends permission to appeal against the decision of Mr Justice Supperstone and the hearing has been fixed for 2nd November 2017; this will be heard by the Court of Appeal in the Royal Courts of Justice. The Friends have teamed up with the Open Spaces Society, Britain’s oldest national conservation body and charity concerned with the protection of parks and open spaces across the country, who will be intervening on their behalf during the court proceedings.
The Society is deeply concerned about how our park and others across the capital have been exploited and neglected by local authorities in recent times. “It is vital, for all Londoners who care about their open spaces that this appeal proceeds and is won, otherwise London Boroughs will have carte blanche to give their parks and open spaces over to commercial interests for much of the year, barring bar residents from enjoyment of their open spaces for extended periods. That would be a very dark day for all Londoners.” John Lavery, The Open Spaces Society
Why this case matters
The FoFP legal action is not about banning events in the park outright. If they win the appeal, the ruling will not ban commercial events, but it will restrict the number of days of events, and the size of events, to a level that is sustainable and continues to preserve London parks as areas of tranquillity and natural beauty, free and open to all. This is not just about protecting Finsbury Park and safeguarding it for future generations. The outcome of this appeal will have legal ramifications for every local authority managed public park across the capital: it will decide whether parks will be protected for local communities against commercial over-exploitation, or given away indefinitely for local authorities to hire out to whoever they want, for however long, regardless of its condition or the customer. Indeed, in giving the Friends permission to bring this case before the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Lewison said the case raised, “a point of considerable importance for London local authorities”; in giving the Open Spaces Society permission to make submissions in the appeal, the Lord Justice also said that the issue in the appeal “is of importance to London open spaces and parks.” “In the light of the increasingly valuable part parks play in creating spaces for sport and fitness, and helping with mental health and wellbeing, as well as their contribution towards tackling pollution, it is vital that we guarantee the future of all of London’s major parks and open spaces.
I believe that this legal precedent will help secure that future. If London’s parks are open, then London is open”. Simon Hunt, Chair of the Friends of Finsbury Park Please link to our crowdfunding page whenever possible – www.crowdjustice.com/case/protectlondonsparks Quick Facts and Contacts:
● Finsbury Park is a public park that was formed by virtue of the Finsbury Park Act 1857; it is registered as a Grade II Historic Park and Garden and is also Metropolitan Open Land
● We are fundraising to protect London parks from persistent commercial exploitation, to ensure that they remain open public spaces for everyone to enjoy, and to preserve them for future generations.
● Monies needed for appeal: £15,000
● We have instructed Susan Ring from Harrison Grant, a solicitor specialising in environmental and public law: http://www.hglaw.co.uk/site/people/profile/susan.ring ● The Friends of Finsbury Park Website: www.finsburypark.org
● The Open Spaces Society website: www.oss.org.uk/
● Crowdfunding link via CrowdJustice: www.crowdjustice.com/case/protectlondonsparks
● For further information, contact Simon Hunt – Chair on 07841 789 058 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Tom Palin on 07973 513 028 or email@example.com