in Shaftesbury

Camping on the Common?

I was astounded last week when I first heard of the idea of letting 10,000 people camp on Clapham Common for the Royal Wedding. I was even more astounded yesterday when a BBC News article about the plan was published and then to discover that the organisers not only have a website, but are taking bookings – £75 for three nights, or £105 for camping and National Express travel.

The BBC article is slightly worrying:

Clapham Common could be turned into a campsite equipped for 10,000 people to celebrate the royal wedding.

Organisers are planning to turn the south London common into a campsite for three nights for revellers on a budget.

It is, possibly, a sign that I’m getting old and becoming something of a nimby, but I can’t say I’m overly keen on the idea of a new 10,000 place campsite on my doorstep (well, not really mine, I live in the north of the ward, but it’s definitely the ward’s doorstep). And maybe I’m reading too much into the word ‘revellers’, but I certainly recall the problems caused by badly managed events on the Common when I first became a councillor.

While event management on the Common has improved – in large part, I suspect, because the scale has reduced – I know many long-term residents in the south of the ward will hear of the plans with some trepidation.

It might only be three nights, and I have no problem whatsoever, with people coming to London to enjoy the Royal Wedding. I do have a problem with it when it could potentially cause huge disruption to residents who don’t seem to have been consulted at all!

Clapham Common, although partly in Wandsworth, is managed by Lambeth Council who would certainly be the ones to licence any event. I can’t say the BBC article filled me confidence when it revealed:

Lambeth Council could not confirm if a licence had been granted for the event but said if it did go ahead there would be strict rules on noise and litter.

If they don’t even know whether a licence has been granted it’s hard to see how they can enforce strict rules on noise and litter!

Enquiries within Wandsworth Council suggests that no-one there has heard of the event, possibly because no licence application has been made to Lambeth, or possibly because Lambeth did not consult us. We are, however, keen to find out whether our next door neighbours are planning on having 10,000 around for a three-night sleepover!

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  • Camp Royale - it's definitely happening - James Cousins

    […] And it’s been a lesson in how not to organise and publicise an event of this nature. The first that many people heard about it was news reports of a 10,000 person campsite on Clapham Common, which is managed by Lambeth Council. When Wandsworth (which covers part of the Common) enquired it was impossible to get an answer from Lambeth: it seemed they knew as little about it as residents did! […]