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Flood of objections over plan for two-week Irish festival during Olympics in 'only little bit of green space we have'

Published: 22 March, 2012

OBJECTIONS have flooded into the Town Hall in a bid to stop a two-week Irish festival from taking place in a public park in Kilburn, with licensing chiefs receiving 140 letters against the proposals for Kilburn Grange.

Objectors complain that they will be deprived of their precious green space for a fortnight.

Promoters want an alcohol licence to serve drinks until 2am on Friday and Saturday nights during the festival, which is expected to be attended by up to 5,000 people each day.

They say live music will run no later than 11pm.

Organised by Vince Power, one of the biggest names in London’s live music scene, the event will also host a live stream of the Olympics, with a focus on Irish competitors.

But, as the New Journal revealed earlier this month, the disruption has caused community groups and residents to unite against plans, with worries about parking, noise nuisance and damage all being lodged with the council.

June Perrin, chairwoman of the Kilburn Pensioners Association, said: “Kilburn Grange the only little bit of green space we have and this would be right in the middle of the of the children’s holidays.

“It’s taken years to get that park free of drunks so that children could be happy and safe to play in there.

“Now, when we’ve just got it back for the community, they want to start selling alcohol in it for three weeks.”

At a community meeting last week, Mr Power indicated that he had made some last-minute changes to the application – reducing the attendance to 2,000 and slightly curtailing the planned opening hours,  as well as shrinking the whole festival down to 10 days.

The amended application has not yet appeared on Camden Council’s official licensing website.

Labour Kilburn councillor Mike Katz said: “[Mr Power] was really speaking in this curmudgeonly way, and it wasn’t very helpful.

“He kept saying that he had no statutory obligation to organise a public meeting for residents – however badly organised it was.

“His attitude did not bode well for how he would be to deal with if the event went ahead. People had really serious concerns about their local area – from parking, to the loss of amenities in the park.”

Former council leisure chief Flick Rea has told her successor, Labour councillor Tulip Siddiq, to intervene in the row. Cllr Rea said: “Many residents, businesses and representative groups in the local area are objecting to the Licensing Committee about this event. 

“This is an issue which runs far beyond the remit of Licensing and should not be left to them.”


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