Fury over damage to parks from summer events

Upcoming festival at Trent Park cancelled following damage caused by similar event, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

The "mud bath" that followed the staging of 51st State Festival at Trent Park earlier this month
The “mud bath” that followed the staging of 51st State Festival at Trent Park earlier this month (credit Friends of Trent Country Park)

Work will be carried out to clean up and repair borough parks hit by damage and littering during summer events, Enfield Council has promised.

The authority warned work to restore Trent Country Park will take “some time to complete” following “significant damage” to the grounds during the 51st State Festival, which took place on 7th-8th August.

Elrow Town Festival, which had been due to be held in the park this weekend, 21st-22nd August, was cancelled as a result of the damage from the previous festival.

Local campaigners have spent several years pressing the council to rethink its policies following damage sustained during “mega events”, some of which have been granted capacity for up to 25,000 revellers. 

Peter Gibbs, chair of the Friends of Trent Country Park, said parts of the park had been churned up and turned into a “mudbath” during the 51st State Festival, while a Grade 2-listed entrance gate was damaged by “oversized trucks forcing their way into the park”.

“The north pillar has been knocked off the plinth, and the bollard to the south has been completely knocked off the ground,” he said. “Really, none of the protections that the council thought they had put in place were implemented.

“The heritage feature is being rapidly degraded, and we are furious about it.”

Colin Bull, chair of Cockfosters Local Area Residents Association, said the park was a “completely inappropriate site” for large events. He said campaigners had been complaining about the problems caused by large events “for five to six years” but had been “given the brush off by the council”. 

In a statement, the council said the organisers of 51st State Festival “did not return the site in a condition that meets the exacting standards demanded by Enfield Council of all third parties” and that the damage was “beyond anything we would expect to see, even in the wet weather we experienced”.

It added: “We’d like to make clear that we do not hold attendees of the event responsible in any way. These are the event organiser’s operational management issues.”

The statement continues: “We are in discussions with the organisers of the previous event and will take all necessary steps to ensure the grounds are returned to their previous condition, but this remedial work will take some time to complete. “

The council will also bill the organisers of a family event, Jurassic Encounter, held in Grovelands Park, Southgate. It received complaints over rubbish left strewn over the ground following the event. Held between 24th July and 10th August, it allowed families to walk alongside 50 life-size animatronic dinosaurs.

A spokesperson for Enfield Council said: “The council has received complaints from residents regarding litter in Grovelands Park following a recent Jurassic Encounter dinosaur event.  

“The rubbish was removed from the park [on Wednesday] and we will be charging the company for the clean-up by making a deduction from the bond they paid in advance. 

“The council charges organisers of events for ground damage and any litter left behind in parks by deduction from their bond. If costs exceed the bond, an invoice is sent for the work undertaken.”

The organisers of 51st State Festival and Jurassic Encounter were approached for comment.

Litter surrounds a (fake) dinosaur egg in Grovelands Park, Southgate
Litter surrounds a (fake) dinosaur egg in Grovelands Park, Southgate (credit Paul Caldwell)