Winterville statement

Please find below CCMAC’s response to Winterville’s 2018 planning application (with an alternate view in Appendix 1).

Clapham Common Management Advisory Committee (CCMAC) is made up of three Lambeth Councillors (from Clapham Town and Clapham Common wards), ten elected community representatives and representatives from the Friends of Clapham Common, Clapham Society and Bandstand Beds.

CCMAC seeks to evaluate the impact of events holistically, taking into account potential benefits and costs to the local community.

Summary comment

The impact on the ground from the 2017/18 event was severe and the long-term damage still unknown. While we recognise there are plans to reduce damage from 2018’s event, ground recovery time is still likely to be months rather than weeks, and so the benefits of this event to the local community are likely to be outweighed by the costs.

Impact on ground

A large area of Clapham Common was fenced off for six months from November 2017 until May 2018, following the damage caused by the event which only ran from late November through to New Year’s Eve.

The Lambeth Events Assessment alludes to the long time taken to repair the ground following Winterville 2017/18 (an effort which is still ongoing). CCMAC believes the damage to the ground was unacceptable. We welcome plans to undertake ground recovery in a more professional manner but do not believe that modest improvement alone is sufficient. We note that no quantitative commitment is given on reduced recovery time. A reduction measured only in weeks would still mean a recovery that takes months.

We also believe that further assessment needs to be made of the risk of permanent damage to the ground from holding the event again if the ground has not fully recovered.

We welcome the reduction in event footprint of 20% but this will mean only a modest reduction in the event’s negative impact on the Common.

Disruption to residents

Winterville will occupy ground for just over two months and the 2017/18 event was followed by a further four months of the site being fenced off. In total, this event blocked use of part of the Common for about half a year.

As above, we acknowledge the steps to improve recovery for this event but also note that no quantitative commitment is made to faster ground recovery and that even with improvement the disruption to users of this part of the Common will be large.

The 2017/18 event operated without unreasonable light or noise impact.

In addition to the disruption caused to residents by Winterville, without a break new fencing went up in early May for the Moonwalk, restricting the use still further until mid-May.

The events site of the Common will also be inaccessible to local residents for the duration of London Calling and SW4, both scheduled for July and August respectively. While these are two-day and three-day events, set-up and take-down can take up to ten days each, resulting in an area of the Common being cordoned off for more than a month depending on reparatory works needed.

Benefit to local residents

Winterville 2017 was an event enjoyed by many local residents and we welcome the repeat offer of discounted tickets.

We welcome the Winterville Community Fund (assuming it is repeated in 2018) and the money that will be raised through PIL. However, given Lambeth Events’ charging framework does not adequately account for ground recovery time, the income from this event will not compensate for its impact.

Impact on local business

This is Clapham BID’s survey of local businesses indicated that Winterville 2017 had a mostly positive impact on trade. However, any increase in late opening hours or change in mix of content at Winterville could mean greater competition for local businesses.

Impact on the environment

Winterville wants to return in November and run until Christmas Eve on the same site.

Therefore taking all events together, in 2018 around nine months of upwards of 10% of Clapham Common will have been fenced off and out of bounds for use by the local community.

This is unsustainable for the good condition of the ground and impact on the environment and unacceptable to CCMAC, and the local community that we work with, that an area of common land is cordoned off for up to three-quarters of the year.

That Winterville does not constitute a ‘major event’ in the definitions of the events strategy further demonstrates the strategy needs a thorough and open review with community groups such as CCMAC.

To conclude, the circus site on Clapham Common is a more suitable venue for the Winterville event.

Simon Millson, Chair – CCMAC


Appendix 1

I support a second running of Winterville on the events site in 2018: it is innovative, popular and can help sustain a balance between high-quality cultural activities and the increasing need for investment in our local area.

As contributed to CCMAC meetings earlier this year, my reasons in summary are:

Form of the event and local impact

  • CCMAC and our constituent groups significantly shaped the event that was staged in December 2017, having persuaded the promoter to postpone the application for a year and to consult more widely with stakeholders and the neighbourhood
  • The resulting event, refined in the current application, was a Clapham-centred midwinter attraction that combined a cross-generational, cross-cultural offer that was extremely popular, particularly with families and schools: there were 160k visits, 100k of which were made by people from Lambeth and Wandsworth
  • This is an easily-accessible event, with significant discounts for children, families and local employees: it provides for local charities and businesses to showcase themselves and the dedicated support for Trinity Hospice, skills training and financial contributions to housing schemes, children’s centres and public realm make for a very full package of community benefits
  • The accessibility, novelty and general quality of the event’s production were widely attractive and contributed to Clapham’s profile as a destination, with most, though not all businesses finding its impact a benefit, both in December and subsequently

Environmental impact

  • I am an advocate of a three-part implementation: preparation, staging, reparation, with an agronomist’s report used as a base for assessing and preparing the site, reducing the measures needed to return the site to open use. This can be a valuable model for Lambeth’s events in public spaces, with promoters required to collaborate sequentially in sustaining the borough’s event sites, eg Moonwalk/SW4/Winterville
  • In 2017, the newly-formed, in-house Lambeth Landscapes undertook to carry out preparation and repairs work. This was laudable and I support the move to this in future, but officers conceded in hindsight that this was premature, given the quality of equipment and the staff resources available
  • I suggest that the promoter should be required to use their dedicated groundwork contractor and their specialist equipment, in conjunction with Lambeth Landscapes until such time that LL are in a position to operate independently
  • The above arrangement would lead to more prompt, comprehensive reparations than was the case this spring, when the coldest, wettest spring for many years restricted Lambeth Landscape’s access and led to significant public frustration, largely directed at the event, despite promoters’ planned provision, submitted at Planning

CCMAC colleagues advised that the 2018 event was supportable, but only on the circus site. Even if the promoter felt the event was viable on half the previous area, I would resist a staging of the event that benefited businesses and residents in our neighbouring borough of Wandsworth, when the scheme has been hatched and shaped by the Lambeth community.

Cllr Nigel Haselden

Labour and Co-operative, Clapham Town Ward

Lambeth’s Design & Heritage Champion