Palmers Green residents say ‘nein’ to German beer festival

Fears over impact of London Oktoberfest being held in park, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Broomfield Park and (inset) a toast at Oktoberfest
Broomfield Park and (inset) a toast at Oktoberfest

Plans to hold a German-themed beer festival in a Palmers Green park could pose a risk to public safety, a residents’ group has claimed.

Barbican Events Limited has applied to Enfield Council for a licence to host London Oktoberfest – a three-day long beer, food and music festival that could attract as many as 8,000 people – in Broomfield Park.

Under the plans, the festival would run during the weekend of 21st–23rd October, with closing times of 10.30pm on the Friday and Saturday evenings. If it goes ahead, a marquee would be set up in the north-east of the park, featuring a bar and entertainment including “German oompah music”. Outside, there will be stalls serving traditional Bavarian food.

The proposed event would be divided into four sessions, with each expected to attract up to 2,000 people. In a letter sent to residents last month, the council said its safety advisory group was satisfied the organiser could deliver a safe event. But Friends of Broomfield Park has called for the licence application to be “rejected outright” after raising concerns over crime and disorder, public safety, the protection of children and public nuisance.

David Williamson, events lead and secretary at the local voluntary group, said: “These things are all around London, and they cause problems wherever they go. It has not been thought through. If this happens here, it could happen in any park in Enfield.”

He added: “What we [the friends] are trying to do is to generate events which the community is vested in. I accept there are divided views on it, but I think there is such a danger in the monetisation of parks.”

David claimed the council had failed to consult properly with residents over the Oktoberfest application. He explained that in 2018, after an event planned for the park ran into local opposition, the civic centre agreed that in future it would hold initial consultations with the local community on similar schemes.

He said the friends had attended a meeting with the council and the organisers at the beginning of March, but described the council’s approach as “bad management of public assets” and said the Oktoberfest event felt “like a juggernaut”.

The formal objection from the friends states the Oktoberfest event would be “alcohol-driven”, which would lead to “a high risk of […] antisocial behaviour and from some attendees a high risk of crime”. It adds: “Some of this will be in the middle of a busy Saturday in the highly-populated residential and shopping area of Palmers Green, and in a park with a children’s playground just a few metres away from the event.”

The friends warn that almost all of those attending will arrive and leave by entrances to the park in Aldermans Hill, and that the nearest gate for arrival takes only one person at a time, adding that alcohol consumption and busy roads present “a major danger to participants and the public”.

Their objection also points out that the park is used frequently by families, especially during school holidays, and warns that “2,000 people exiting the event and on to Aldermans Hill will at the very least present a hazardous mixture for parents with children”.

On the public nuisance grounds, the friends group claims that even with professional security and traffic management, “raucous behaviour will happen and this in turn will cause a public nuisance”.

The Oktoberfest event will only be allowed to go ahead if the application is approved by the council’s licensing subcommittee. A spokesperson for Enfield Council said: “The council’s licensing subcommittee plays a key role in approving licensing applications. All representations in regard to the premises licence application for Broomfield Park Oktoberfest should be made to the committee.

“A letter has been sent to residents in the area informing them that the event organiser will be applying for a premises licence. If they have any objections, they need to be sent to the committee for consideration.”

Barbican Events Limited could not be reach for comment.

More information, including on how to make representations for or against the Oktoberfest application, is available on the council website:
Visit
enfield.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/26433/Oktoberfest-Resident-Consultation-letter-2022-Leisure-and-culture.pdf