Aspire administration to increase major events in Victoria Park

5 December, 2023 | Council-level work Local action

I have been shocked and frustrated at a decision taken by the Aspire administration in Tower Hamlets to increase the number of major event days allowed in Victoria Park – the jewel in our borough’s crown.

Events in the park are known to local residents to be highly disruptive, both while the events are taking place and while event infrastructure is being constructed. When erected, tall barriers stop locals from enjoying the majority of the eastern part of the park. Events are often held during school holidays, when many local residents in this densely populated area need access to green space, and most locals can’t afford to go on holiday to avoid the loudest music.

Image above shows sunlight in Victoria Park being blocked by the barriers around All Points East festival in August 2023.

The Mayor at Cabinet on Wednesday 29 November did not allow me to ask him a question and thus challenge this decision in person. Instead, I had to request a written answer to my questions. A question of mine has never been refused at Cabinet by the Mayor, so this is highly unusual and suggests the administration is not willing to budge.

My questions are as follows:

  • Given the significant impact which major events in Victoria Park have on the surrounding community, what impact assessments have been carried out to understand what increased impact this review will have on residents in the surrounding area?
  • All Points East festival is now an award-winning world-class festival which should draw big artists outside the normal August season. What research has been done to scope the feasibility of restricting the time of events to take place outside the school holidays when access to green space is so important in this densely populated area?
  • Finally, what other options have been explored to raise the same revenue which do not have as significant an impact on the locality?

I got the following response from the council officers who worked on this policy review, rather than the administration – note: it is significant that I got a response from officers rather than the Mayor or Councillors in the ruling Aspire group – the administration is the political decision maker here and should be answerable to scrutiny about their choices, rather than allowing officers to defend their policies on their behalf.

There has been some press coverage about the policy change: East London Lines and Roman Road London


Category: Council-level work Category: Local action