Tuesday, 17 September 2013

All the fun of the fair comes at a price

So what do you think about events on Highbury Fields?  The Islington Tribune recently featured residents concerned about extensive damage to the Fields caused by compaction of the soil by heavy lorries, leaving deep cracks in the ground. I could see what people were concerned about.  It would be easy to twist an ankle if you stepped awkwardly on one of these cracks, which could clearly be dangerous to people running and playing on the grass.  

Highbury Fields is Islington's largest open space and is valued and enjoyed daily by residents across Islington.  Is it ok to close off large sections of the Fields for paid for events like funfairs which appear to cause long term damage to the park?  Fairs are enjoyed by many but limit the space available for children and adults to play and relax for free without pressure to spend money.

Whenever the council has consulted on events on Highbury Fields there's been a strong vote in favour of community activities like the Gillespie Festival rather than commercial events with huge lorries.

This weekend a funfair is due to arrive.  A funfair is an easy option, will presumably make money for the council, and almost by definition will be fun for some, but a cost of £10 for ten tokens, with some rides charging more than one token, will price many families out of the enjoyment. If Highbury Fields is "a resource for all those in the borough with no access to green space", as Cllr Richard Greening says in the Tribune 6 Sept, then perhaps the council could look into more affordable and inclusive options for next year?

Example of the deep cracks opening in the grass showing compaction damage.