Festivals in park spark anger in East Barnet

Residents in shock after discovering two festivals being advertised in Oak Hill Park
By Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

A wetland haven for wildlife was created in Oak Hill Park three years ago
A wetland haven for wildlife was created in Oak Hill Park three years ago

Plans to hold two music festivals in a suburban park have sparked concerns over their impact on wildlife and neighbours.

The events, Sun City in the Park and The K-Pop Festival, are being advertised as taking place in Oak Hill Park, East Barnet, during the weekend of 27th-28th August. Sun City is a garage and house music festival, while K-Pop showcases Korean popular music. 

Rob White, secretary and treasurer of East Barnet Residents’ Association, said Barnet Council had not held a consultation or raised any awareness of the events with residents.

He said: “The problem is that it is a very small park that is very closely surrounded by houses. It is important for wildlife.

“People come to enjoy the park for its beauty, especially at the bank holiday weekend. They have picnics and walk dogs, play games and sports. It seems a shame to restrict that by having an event there.

“Oak Hill Park is such a delicate nature reserve, and it could all so easily go horribly wrong. That is what we really do not want.”

Oak Hill Park includes Oak Hill Wood, a London Wildlife Trust nature reserve, while a wetlands area for wildlife has also recently been created within the park, along Pymmes Brook.

Rob said 96.5% of people who responded to a poll on the East Barnet Residents’ Association’s main Facebook group were against holding the events in the park. “There are obviously some people who might want to go to the events,” he said. “But we are just saying it is not appropriate in a nature reserve in a small local park.”

Local resident Dave Purdy also complained over the lack of consultation. “No-one in the area knew anything about it until we saw it advertised,” he said. “I’ve got nothing against these events, but that park is totally unsuitable for that sort of thing.”

Dave said fencing off parts of the park from the general public on one of the busiest summer weekends of the year would be “wholly unacceptable for an area that prides itself on its green spaces”.

He added that the park was “surrounded by a residential area” and there were “no real transport links”. Dave also asked: “How are people going to get there? Where are they going to park, and will there be road closures?”

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “The council is aware of the concerns expressed by residents and the situation remains under review.”

The organisers of both events were approached for comment.

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