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chris james councillor palmers green ward

Cllr Chris James: "I am confident that the Oktoberfest event will not be going ahead. "

Enfield Council has asked the organisers of a German-themed beer festival due to be held in Broomfield Park to withdraw their application for a licence for the event. In a letter to residents a Palmers Green councillor says she is "confident" that the event will not go ahead.

Residents who had written expressing concerns about the planned event were informed of the council's new stance regarding the "London Oktoberfest" in a letter from Cllr Chris James, associate cabinet member for Enfield West and one of two councillors in Palmers Green ward..

In the letter, which was later posted on the official Enfield Council Twitter account, Cllr James says that she herself objects to the beer festival, scheduled for 21st to 23rd October and expected to attract up to 8000 visitors over the three days.

However, Cllr James adds that she wants to clear up "much misinformation" about the likelihood of the beer festival actually taking place and has therefore sought clarification from council officers:

Barbican Events Ltd submitted their application to Enfield Council on 22nd July 2022. As part of normal processes, council officers have held discussions with the licensing, planning and community safety teams about various concerns, including the absence of CCTV at the event and the movement of attendees to local travel routes after the event closes.

The organisers of Oktoberfest have failed to adequately address the concerns raised. As a result, Enfield Council has asked the event organisers to withdraw their application.

Should Barbican Events press ahead, Cllr James continues, the council will be legally obliged to schedule a licensing committee meeting to consider the application. However, "as it stands", she is "confident that the Oktoberfest event will not be going ahead".

However, in clearing up "misinformation" Cllr James's letter itself muddies the waters somewhat. Although it doesn't say so explicitly, the impression given by the sentence order is that discussions involving council officers took place recently, around the time that the licence application was submitted, when we know that they were already happening more than five months ago.

Council officers discussed the event with the organisers at least as far back as 15 March, when a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) meeting was held to discuss the Oktoberfest. The meeting was attended by representatives of the police, fire brigade, ambulance service and Transport for London. The minutes of the meeting reveal that among the matters discussed all that time ago were the specific issues that Cllr James refers to: "the absence of CCTV at the event and the movement of attendees to local travel routes after the event closes".

Additionally, the letter fails to acknowledge the council's failure to consult in good time about the principle of holding an event of this nature in the park rather than just leaving us with the opportunity - required by law - to challenge the licence application, on very specific grounds only.

Whatever the eventual outcome, it’s to be welcomed that a campaign of writing to councillors has resulted in some action, both by the councillors themselves and higher up within the council. But it’s disappointing that after the “4 Not 24” debacle and the major row over Whitewebbs, the council has not grasped the importance of keeping friends of parks groups at the very least better informed. After all, without the Friends of Broomfield Park the historic herbaceous borders would be …. history. And that’s only one of the many attractions of our park and of other Enfield green spaces that only exist because of local people putting in hours of unpaid work.

Full text of letter from Cllr Chris James

8th August 2022

Update on Oktoberfest in Broomfield Park

Dear Residents,

Concerns have been raised by residents and local ward councillors about the application from “Barbican Events Ltd” called Oktoberfest, planned to be held in Broomfield Park between 21st – 23rd October 2022.

I strongly share the concerns that residents and the Friends of Broomfield Park have expressed in respect to noise, anti-social behaviour, and impact to the environment. Alongside other local councillors in the immediate area of Broomfield Park, namely Palmers Green and Highfields wards, I object to this event going ahead.

However, I am also aware that there has been much misinformation about the proposed event and the likelihood of it proceeding or not. That is why I have sought clarification from Enfield Council officers.

Barbican Events Ltd submitted their application to Enfield Council on 22nd July 2022. As part of normal processes, Council officers have held discussions with the licensing, planning and community safety teams about various concerns, including the absence of CCTV at the event and the movement of attendees to local travel routes after the event closes.

The organisers of Oktoberfest have failed to adequately address the concerns raised. As a result, Enfield Council has asked the event organisers to withdraw their application.

If the applicant does not withdraw the application themselves, the Council is legally obliged to continue to follow due process, which includes scheduling a licensing committee date. This does not mean however, that the event will go ahead.

If the licensing committee date does go ahead, I will be submitting an objection along with other local ward councillors.

As it stands, I am confident that the Oktoberfest event will not be going ahead. Yours sincerely,

Cllr Chris James
Associate Cabinet Member for Enfield West
Palmers Green Ward

Download the original letter

Links

A festival too far? (Palmers Green Community 27 July 2022)

London Oktoberfest website

Friends of Broomfield Park submission to the licensing committee

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