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Neighbour felt like ‘hostage’ in her own home during Wireless festival

Calls for Finsbury Park events to be managed so that residents don’t suffer

20 July, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Notice on park gate giving details of Haringey’s licensing review. Picture: Clive Carter

THE Town Hall will be making a “robust” representation to Haringey Council in the wake of a music festival that brought angry complaints about anti-social behaviour and noise.

Islington Council’s community safety chief Councillor Andy Hull told a meeting of Blackstock Road residents on Monday: “You’re pissed off, we’re pissed off too.”

Wireless festival saw around 120,000 revellers enjoy music during the three-day event in Finsbury Park, which is managed by Haringey Council but borders Islington.

Thousands of festival-goers used Finsbury Park tube station between July 6 and 8.

Haringey has licensed nine large events in the park this year.

One resident told Monday’s meeting that she felt like a “hostage” in her home over the festival.

Speaking after the meeting, Town Hall licensing chief Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz told the Tribune that, although Wireless was a “great opportunity for young people to see amazing international acts”, it should not come at the expense of residents.

Wireless festival in Finsbury Park

“The festival needs managing and I am disappointed that residents have to live through such high levels of noise, anti-social behaviour and face difficulties when accessing their properties,” she said.

She added that Islington Council was compiling complaints from residents and would submit them to Haringey Council’s forthcoming licensing review for the festival.

Islington Council had its own licensing officers working over the weekend to monitor the festival, with Haringey not contributing to this cost, said Cllr Comer-Schwartz.

She said Islington had raised concerns around road closures before the festival date.

“They showed us a plan and we said it was not going to work because our residents will need to access their roads. We still had lots of residents complain they couldn’t get into their road with their cars,” she said.

“Having a music festival is not a negative thing. It is about managing how the event happens, which is not impossible to do well.

“We want to work constructively so they don’t lose the opportunity to host Wireless, but residents can’t be dealing with all the things they have been through. It’s a balance.”

Town Hall leader Richard Watts will be writing to the leader of Haringey Council with his concerns, according to Cllr Hull at Monday’s meeting.

Organisers of Wireless, Festival Republic, would not comment on the review.

Residents can make representations to Har­ingey’s licensing review committee until August 2.

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