On Blackheath festival: Greenwich councillors object

Six Greenwich councillors have joined forces to object to September’s planned On Blackheath music festival going ahead.

The two Conservative and four Labour representatives, from Blackheath Westcombe and Greenwich West wards, are sending a submission to Bromley Magistrates Court in support of action being taken by the Blackheath Society, which says the event will cause “substantial noise and nuisance”.

On Blackheath is due to attract 25,000 people each day over the weekend of 10 and 11 September, with organisers planning to put on a bill of new and left-field acts.

Lewisham Council’s licensing panel approved the event last October, but the society has taken the issue to magistrates, appealling to members for funds to help pay for their legal costs. One bone of contention is that Greenwich was not consulted by Lewisham over the original application for the festival, whose site at Hare and Billet Road is close to the boundary between the two boroughs.

Two councillors, Labour’s Maureen O’Mara and Conservative Geoff Brighty, are planning to attend the hearing, which begins on Thursday.

Earlier this month one of the festival’s organisers, Chislehurst-based businessman Tom Wates, told this website the event could bring up to £1m of custom for local firms.

17 comments

  1. Vincenzoo

    It sounds like a perfectly good use of open common land. Not sure what the ‘noise and nuisance’ could entail. I can’t help but think it’s old people who don’t want young people to enjoy themselves.

    Mind you if the band’s are awful, I’ll be right behind the NIMBYs.

    If they’re not then it’s an exciting and much needed development for the area.

  2. Bob Land

    With regard to the £ 1 million of custom for local
    firms, I can’t see all these people arriving for the Festival, and deciding to do a spot of shopping
    before the music starts, the pubs and restaurants will probably see a marked increase in business.

  3. Steve

    I think the likes of Blackheath Society need to be reminded that the heath is *not* their private domain.

    This is a prime leisure venue in the middle of the city, where tens of thousands of fellow Londoners can enjoy a rare large-scale open-air event without having to travel beyond the M25 or pay for expensive accommodation.

    And there is of course a way for this small number of NIMBYs to avoid being disturbed by others having fun (and this applies to the increasingly ridiculous Olympic whingers too)….

    Go away for the duration of the event.

  4. scared of chives

    @Steve

    You’re right, Blackheath does not belong to the Blackheath Society.

    I don’t want to detract from this debate but having most of Greenwich Park out of bounds for weeks on end is not the same as a two-day event.

  5. Charlton Lane Dave

    Steve – spot on. I think it’s commendable that the Blackheath Society make the effort to get involved in all things Blackheath and provide an alternative voice to questionable Councils on either side but there is often a pomposity and arrogance in their approach. “Change is not good” should be their strapline. Very conservative with a capital “C.”

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  7. AndyBanana

    Is this the same Greenwich council who have given late license to practically everybody in Greenwich who has asked despite the protest form local residents about, among other things, “substantial noise and nuisance”?

  8. Mark

    I made the comment before, but I will make it again.

    Greenwich Council totally failed to take part in a consultation over the massive expansion of London City Airport – despite the fact that the expansion permitted by Newham Cuoncil will permanently affect in terms of noise and quality of life thousands of people living in Greenwich, esp in Thamesmaed. When it had the chance Greenwich Council it its wisdom said absolutely nothing. It expressed no view at all.

    Yet the Labour and Tory Councillors on Greenwich seem to think it is right to object to a two festival being allowed to take place on a public heath?

    Of course the festival will bring extra business to Blackheath pubs, bars, restaurants and shops – most importantly it will allow people across London to enjoy a music festival without having to travel huge distances.

    If properly organised, and with reasonable controls the festivals should cause litle disturbance (to Lewisham residents)but it could be enjoyed by thousands.

    I find those objecting to the festival to be petty and with the most perverse sense of priorities.

  9. Dai Smile

    “Steve”
    Presumably you have spent years volunteering your time to protect the Heath from neglect and mismanagement so it can be used for recreation by thousands of Londoners. I can’t possibly imagine you have left it to old crusties like BlackSoc to do this, becoming interested only when there are plans for a knees-up you will enjoy.

    And thanks for telling the hundreds of locals who will be blasted out of their homes by noise that they can go away for a couple of days. They all have deep pockets to pay for accommodation and travel – unlike those who whinge at paying for same if travelling outside the M25 to a festival.

    I have a solution: why not invite them all around to camp outside your windows? You could arrange entertainment to while away the time – such as a pop concert.

  10. Mat Gough

    I love the idea of On Blackheath, and the area really does need more exciting things for people to do, but I was up on the heath the other day and the spot they are talking about is about 50 yards from peoples’ houses!!! It’s also miles from any major transport links. It would be much better to have the event on the lower field in greenwich park – then everyone’s happy!

  11. Nicholas

    I literally live on Blackheath; and my car is parked 6 inches from the heath.

    Vincenzoo seems to be confused on what noise and nuisance can entail. Well, I suggest you look use a dictionary and look up the word noise; for nuisance -imagine picking up rubbish out of your front garden and beer cans off your car roof two mornings in a row.

    What no one seems to have mentioned is this is completely subjective. Personally if there was a dance music festival on my door step I would be thinking how lucky I was, even if it ran to 6am. Conversely if it is some hard rock, metal festival I would consider it a real annoyance – as to me this constitutes noise.

    As everyone has different tastes you will always upset some people. Ultimately as someone else says it would be better held on a green space without being on the door step of residential properties. i.e. the main part of Greenwich park

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  13. Derek Bond

    I live on Blackheath. I would love a music festival on my doorstep. Up until now we annually have the fireworks, boring. We have a poor excuse for a fun-fair, boring and a circus boring. Oh and an annual kite flying competition, weak.
    How about a music festival to attract some young, attractive interesting people to Blackheath.

  14. Sally

    I am totally in favour of the festival – it’s events like this that make me proud to live in such a vibrant and exciting area. Does anyone know how to let the people who make the decisions know that we want the event to go ahead to counter the objections?

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