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War of words over more concerts on Clapham Common

Two London councils are at war over plans to hold more concerts and large-scale live events on Clapham Common.

Although the 220-acre park is managed and maintained solely by Lambeth Council, half of it lies in neighbouring Wandsworth, and the latter council has voiced “serious concerns” over a new events strategy by Lambeth that paves the way for the borough to hold up to eight shows a year on Clapham Common, as well as eight each in four other ‘event zones’ (Streatham, North Lambeth, Brixton and Norwood).

The council has also greenlit an increase in maximum sound levels on the common and three other parks. The new music noise level (MNL) will be 75dB L(A), with a maximum low-frequency music noise level (LFMNL) of 90 dB L(C).

Wandsworth Council’s environment spokesman, Councillor Jonathan Cook, has criticised Lambeth for “burying” the recommendations “some 300 pages into a 520-page” report and says more “noisy music festivals and other loud events” will negatively affect those living near the common.

“Instead of trying to conceal the level of opposition that exists to these proposals and trying to sneak them through without the public’s knowledge, Lambeth actually needs to sit down and engage much more closely with residents who live near the common,” says Cllr Cook.

Wandsworth councillor Jonathan Cook says more “noisy music festivals and other loud events” will negatively affect those living near the common

“It would simply not be acceptable for changes as drastic as these to be made to Clapham Common without much greater and proper consultation with those most directly affected by any relaxation in the noise rules.”

However, a spokesman for Lambeth Council says the events plan was drawn up after “extensive consultation”, including with Wandsworth, “who were consulted as part of the Culture 2020 consultation and were engaged as part of the separate noise consultation in February this year – and responded”.

“It’s also been on the [public] forward plan since November last year, so to claim these proposals have ‘just emerged’ is absurd,” she tells the Evening Standard, adding that “the recommendations are not ‘buried’: the cabinet report is 19 pages, not 520 pages as the press release says, and the noise limit will be increased only from 70dB to 75Db, and for a maximum of eight days per year”.

Clapham Common is currently home to ’80s festival Let’s Rock London, held last weekend, and Lock N Load Events’ House of Common and South West Four in August. It was also the home of Live Nation’s apparently defunct Calling Festival, previously held in Hyde Park.


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