MOSELEY FOLK FESTIVAL: Local residents argue against relocation
The annual Moseley folk festival is ‘not for the people of Birmingham’ and should not be granted permission to relocate this summer, it has been argued.
Speaking at a licensing meeting to decide whether the event could go ahead at Highbury Park, several local residents argued against the proposals, claiming it would result in damage to the park and would set a dangerous precedent.
Organisers of the festival are looking to relocate from Moseley Park mainly due to Covid concerns, with Highbury Park offering a larger area for the approximately 5,000-person crowd to gather.
They say they have worked with local groups to help formulate their proposals, with plans for an ecology impact report, traffic management plan and road marshalling for the event.
However, ahead of today’s (March 29) licensing meeting, several residents and local groups had written to the council voicing their concerns, with the impact on local wildlife and potential pollution representing some of the most pressing concerns.
“I can see that the organisers have taken on a lot of concerns that we and other people have put forward, and I can also really see the effort’s been made to try to meet those as best as possible, so personally I appreciate that,” said Jenny McCabe of the Seaton Grove Residents Association.
“However, I don’t feel comfortable that all of our concerns have been adequately met. Some because I’m not sure that quite enough has been done, but we also have concerns which I think, perhaps, regardless of the extent of effort that’s made, they can’t be met because it’s an issue of precedent. So I want to talk about those first.
“Our feeling as a group of residents – and it’s a large group, I think we had about 80 signatures – was that this park has been bequeathed to the people of Birmingham, and this event isn’t for the people of Birmingham, and regular park users.
“This is for people that can afford the tickets. And the tickets are about £50 for one day, £100 for two and £130 for the full festival, per adult.
“It’s not an accessible festival, lovely though it is, and a lot of the concern was that this park is something that has held deeply precious by the people that live in the area, and to have a commercial venture, regardless of how community-orientated it is – and it is community orientated – we don’t feel that that’s appropriate.
“And we’re really concerned that, if this is agreed to – even if Moseley folk only did this once a year – then it’s going to be that much harder to defend the park from future applications for other commercial events to use it in this way.
“There’s a lot of effort that goes into developing actual mini-ecosystems in the park. And I’m really worried that a lot of people are going to come down and bring their picnics, their drinks – there’s going to be a huge number of extra people using the park. They won’t have access to the toilets, they may use the bins they may not – I’m not really confident that this is going to be easy to mediate.
“We have no idea how many extra people are going to be on-site, and what impact that’s going to have on the park.”
A decision on the application is due within five working days.
Words: Tom Dare, Local Democracy Reporter
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