Update on Open Arms Application

We understand that the application has been modified slightly (e.g. the catering pavilions to be placed further away from the bandstand area and trees, to the west, and the performance hours reduced). Together with the high amount of feedback from the Community Engagement stage, it is now with the cabinet member for Event Lambeth who will make the final decision. This may not be before the 12th April.

Also, there has been consultation on a licence application and we believe many people have responded to this application.  It is awaiting decision. Our chair submitted comments on the licence application on behalf of FoRP on the grounds of potential for public nuisance. They can be seen below:

Public Nuisance: From our experience, parks are extremely important to the Lambeth aspiration of building strong and sustainable neighbourhoods and maintaining safe, clean and cohesive communities across the borough. Parks are unique venues and are vulnerable to a number of anti-social behaviours and public nuisance.  The incidence of these has risen greatly since Covid. Ruskin Park is within close proximity to residential premises. Many notifications of anti-social behaviour and breaches of byelaws have been made by local residents over a long time, but Lambeth has not pursued these reports, and they re-occur every week. The whole of Ruskin Park without physical containment for sale of alcohol and entertainments is not a suitable context for this premises licence to manage the risks of public nuisance. Presumably this type of premise would be classed as a festival (Appendix 6 of the Licensing Policy) Surely it is high risk of public nuisance and therefore unsuitable to allow a licence for a festival to be granted for 95 days so close to residential premises? From experience, we anticipate likely disturbance from large numbers of people in one space, alcohol is likely to exacerbate noise and nuisance issues and dispersal will be an issue. If alcohol is served in a concentrated time period,  drunken behaviour by some customers is inevitable. In pubs and bars this can be contained by security staff but in a park the size of Ruskin Park it will be impossible to control. At the end of the evening when the park is supposed to be locked up it will be difficult to remove the public. 

Access for collection of rubbish in Ruskin Park is already known to be difficult for Lambeth Parks. It is not a suitable venue to increase the amount of rubbish generated giving greater access problems/vehicular activity.

Any Other Comments: Referring to para. 5.7 of the Licensing Policy, we do not think that the applicant has adequately canvassed the views of local residents, or cleared up ambiguities and developed a relationship based on mutual cooperation with the Friends of Ruskin Park (the local group that represents park users) before an application was made. We do not think therefore the applicant has demonstrated at the outset an understanding of what the community believe is acceptable in their area. This evidenced by the high number of people writing with public nuisance concerns to Event Lambeth during their Community Engagement phase of the application.

We do not believe that premises licences are appropriate for Events applications in parks, which as they are for outdoors, they should not endure for 95 days without break clauses. Only Temporary Event Notices should be allowed outdoors in parks, where there are no associated permanent premises.

The event as proposed needs approvals from Event Lambeth, for a licence and for planning, which are all separate processes. We believe the planning application for pavilions is about to go live, and will provide updates once available.