in Battersea

I was not party to the now-withdrawn legal action brought by the Battersea Park Action Group to stop Formula E racing so can only speculate on the full contents of the agreement. (In doing so I can’t help but note the irony that one of the big complaints about the council’s handling of Formula E has been the use of ‘confidentiality’ as an excuse not to release details.)

However, it’s hard not to look on this as a major victory for the campaigners.

The public statement in itself is a pretty big win. The park will be reinstated to its previous condition and Formula E will pay costs. In return the protesters will not campaign against the 2016 event. Separately, but with interesting timing, both Formula E and the council announce that this will be Formula E’s last hurrah in Battersea Park.

How much difference the campaign made is anyone’s guess. It may well be that Formula E was looking to go elsewhere, many Formula E fans expressing disappointment appended the observation that Battersea Park was a poor venue. But even if that was the case, it’s clear that opposition to the event was getting far more attention from Formula E than it ever did in the council chamber.

Sometimes though, you don’t need to know the precise cause and effect, you can just celebrate.

I’m not even that sure the news will be taken that badly in the council. It was truly an example of Cllr Cook’s forceful leadership to get Formula E in there but I suspect he will be one of the few genuinely sorry to see it go. Despite the public face of unity in support of Formula E I know many councillors and officers were privately unhappy with the event.

For everyone else, whether their concern was instinctive or came more thoughtfully, it seems like there’s finally good news. Well done to the residents, park users and campaigners who have done so much to make sure Battersea Park can continue to be a vital asset for everyone, every day.

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  1. It would be considered a victory if the enemy was Formula E; but it’s the Council that the protestors were campaigning against James, and the individuals within that council that allowed this situation to happen in the first place are still at large. But still, although I’m happy for the BPAG campaigners I’m more just relieved that there is an end to this rather poisonous and unproductive debate, even if it is a compromise for both sides. I’ve already said what I think about the agreement on my own blog if you’re interested: https://formulaed.wordpress.com/2016/05/27/why-the-bpagfe-deal-was-the-best-case-scenario/ (Not that I’m plugging that or anything, I just don’t like repeating myself ad nauseum)