I am writing you an impassioned plea in respect of the application for permission by Lambeth Council under Article 12 of the Greater London Parks and Open spaces Order 1967 to carry out restricted works on Clapham Common, London SW4. PLEASE REFUSE LAMBETH COUNCIL’S REQUEST TO USE OUR COMMON FOR REPEATED EVENTS.
I live near the Common and have done for 35 years. I am on the Common every day for exercise. This email is a personal entreaty from me, from someone who loves the green open space, and who is keen to preserve our rights to use the Common freely. I have watched the degradation of soil over the years and I believe it is now almost beyond saving if large events are allowed to continue annually on the Common.
Whilst I understand Lambeth’s need to raise funds, these long commercial events are disruptive and destructive. Heavy equipment, structures, machinery and vehicles cause extensive damage, usually exacerbated by rain. They cause safety issues with heavy goods arriving on roads round the Common.
Large parts of the Common are fenced off for longer and longer periods while the events are set up and derigged. In the past year, during lockdown when the Common has been a lifeline for so many residents, the events space was fenced off to allow the land to recover. It is still fenced off, but not recovered. Lambeth has announced a climate crisis, and yet continues to destroy our green open space.
During events, there are short term but unpleasant consequences: noise, litter, anti-social behaviour, alcohol abuse, drug taking, urinating, defecating and sexual activity. These are unacceptable but of less concern than the damage caused long term to the land and also to the wildlife – birds, bees and small animals whose habitats are destroyed.
If Lambeth succeed in securing the go ahead, this will set a dangerous precedent, which can only lead to more and more damage done to our Common each year and further loss of amenity. There are arenas, sports stadia and the expensive O2 all designed for noise, crowds and events. This is where these events should be held.
I would urge you to refuse Lambeth Council’s request, and in so doing, feel good that you have secured the future of an important piece of Common land for the public to use freely.
Thank you in advance.