What is happening to our parks?

Backdated from previous BA website

It would seem that Camden Parks Department seems to think or has an expectation that they should – indeed, must – make money. Increasingly Camden’s parks are being rented out to host commercial ‘events’.

Camden Council has control over 68 designated parks, ranging from small Central London garden-squares (e.g. Bloomsbury), to larger spaces such as the Belsize Wood nature reserve and Waterlows Park. They are a vital resource for Camden residents, offering free access to open space, a place to meet, to walk, to think, to contemplate nature, to play, to dream.

BA opinion is that these spaces are our ‘havens of tranquillity’ and must NOT be allowed to be used for commercial marketing purposes. We do approve of them being used for suitable community events.

Recently, over 2.5 days Russell Square was taken over for a major promotional event by Radox. The company paid just £14,000 for this prime location, and the event caused a great deal of noise-nuisance and physical damage to the gardens. This would seem to be an inappropriate arrangement. And yet Council Officers were unable to suggest what guidelines they had been following when they considered the application.

This matter was discussed at the recent Bloomsbury Neighbourhood Forum and it was agreed that this must be addressed forthwith. Councillor Rebecca Hossack is taking the lead on our behalf and would like to ghear from anyone with views on the matter, or ideas about how best to move forward.

It is to be hoped that by the time of the next Camden Parks Open Forum proper criteria for the renting of our public spaces will be in place, and the value of a tree set against an expanse of sky will be seen for what it is – priceless.

If you have any opinion you would like to voice on this matter please email us at the BA or email rebecca.hossack@camden.gov.uk

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