May 23 2013 Latest news:
by Max Walters
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Haringey Council have come under fire after it was revealed that they received a lump sum amounting to tens of thousands of pounds from the organisers of a controversial ten-day festival which was later abandoned.
The organisers of the Jamaica Village Festival, which was due to take place in Finsbury Park during the Olympics, paid the council £37,500 to spend on the initial plans.
However, the borough’s Liberal Democrat councillors, who found out about the payment after submitting a Freedom of Information request, have slammed the council claiming the money, which was non-refundable, was not adequately spent.
Cllr Ed Butcher, a Stroud Green ward councillor, said the council ‘must learn from their mistakes’ and called on them to spend the money improving facilities at the park.
He said: “Given that the Council got such a huge deposit it is outrageous that they failed to talk to local residents who had genuine concerns about noise and access to the park.
“Clearly the lack of consultation wasn’t due to lack of funding but a lack of interest in what residents think.
“Now we have an opportunity to use the deposit to improve Finsbury Park for local people. The Council must ensure this happens.”
However, a spokesman for Haringey Council said the money was used to cover the council’s preparation costs for the event.
He said: “The licence application for this event went through the usual consultation process and all responses were considered by the licensing committee.
“When it was thought the event was going ahead, ward councillors and the Friends of Finsbury Park were invited by the council to share their thoughts on any particular matters they felt should be included in discussions with the organisers to help finalise the operational plan.”
He added: “Unused deposits are used for the upkeep of parks.”