Friends of Park suggest a new approach to events in Finsbury Park

The Friends of the Park have proposed a new way of handling events in the Park which would restrict music events to a more manageable size while retaining this kind of activity for those who want them. Certainly worth serious consideration (more details in the article below). I hope Haringey Council engage - we have all appreciated our wonderful park during the lockdown and I’m sure we would like to avoid having half of it fenced off for so long next summer.


  • Finsbury park would be a much poorer park without the big events...

  • Haringey council would be much poorer without the big events
  • but... the events are relatively torturous (IMO) for numerous reasons we've all discussed before. The idea by the friends group does seem reasonable - i'm not an economist and don't have access or the capacity to fully comprehend the amount of money that comes from wireless et al but from a purely community based perspective, fewer and smaller events seems like a good compromise.

    I feel like this lockdown has provided me with a bit of reflection in terms of what I need and what I want - mainly that I don't need to be entertained 24/7 and that community shouldn't be taken for granted. I wonder if that mindset would extend to the ongoing management of the park?
  • I'd prefer not to have massive events, but at the end of the day Haringey is a pretty poor borough when it comes down to it.

    When the council tax bill comes through, their spending breakdown comes with it, which is about 56% Social Services, 23% on debt and administration, 8% public health and about 8% on the environment and neighbourhoods. That leaves 5% on the rest.

    As CMO notes, I'm no economist, but the council need to prioritise A, B or C - and that's really up to us through elected representatives.

    I personally don't mind a few weekends of mayhem if it means we get new facilities put in regularly.

    However - and this won't be a popular opinion - but I feel like re-jigging some of the spending priorities away from stuff like the council buying up property and putting that into parks and wealth creation might be a better idea.

    But that's a larger question not to be had here.

  • Finsbury park makes about £1.5m a year. And that's all spent on the park. So if you took the lion's share away from that the park would drastically deteriorate.

    I'm not sure what people are proposing to do about this? Haringey has less money every year and is cutting and down sizing loads of stuff. No way would adding over a million to the park budget be a plan.
  • Finsbury Park has over 1.5 million spent on it every year? Wow. How many staff does it have? Is there somewhere I can see a breakdown of figures? Sorry, I'm being a bit lazy.
  • I found a pdf that says:

    Park manager.
    Project officer
    5.5 hygiene staff
    1 nursery gardener
    3 seasonal gardeners
    2 rangers

    But I don't think that's the main cost.
  • Here are the costs of some projects this year.
    I guess they might get dumped due to lack of funds this year...

    Capital projects planned for implementation for 2019 - 2020 at Finsbury Park, also listed
    in the Action Plan in section 12 are summarised here:
    • Over 8s play and Richard Hope Play Space refresh: £600,000
    • Under 8s Play area resurfacing: £40,000
    • McKenzie Garden refresh: £30,000
    • New Euro Cart waste strategy: £15,000
    • Tennis upgrades: £40,000
    • Netball upgrades: £66,000
    • Tarmacking repairs: £136,500
    • Water leak repairs: £20,000
    • Accessibility improvements: £28,000
    • Security improvements: £180,000
    • Sprytar App: Costs yet to be ascertained
  • Excuse the long copy and paste. But here are some figures which I believe are for the entire borough, not just Finsbury park.

    The parks service gross budget for 2017/18 was a total of £5.1m with a revenue income
    of £4.5m and operated a net deficit of £600k. According to a survey by Parks for London
    this represents the second lowest operating deficit in London.

    Whilst the service has borne its share of austerity related budget reductions, in recent
    years the service has chosen to focus on generating additional income to mitigate these
    reductions rather than impact service delivery on the ground. The service has managed
    this by growing the amount of income generated through: -
    • Increasing the number of park properties let
    • Increasing the number paying a market rent,
    • Growing the number of commercial events
    • Growing the level of filming income
    • Increasing the range of services offered to other organisations

    A breakdown of the 2017/18 revenue budget is set out below: -

    a) Revenue Expenditure – Employees, Premises, Transport, Supplies and
    Services, Third Party Payments, Support Services etc

    a. Total Parks expenditure £5,142,184
    b. Employees £2,665,995
    c. Premises related expenditure £534,054
    d. Transport related expenditure £144,885
    e. Supplies and Services £398,471
    f. Third Party Payments £662,463
    g. Support Services £583,987
    h. Capital Charges £152,330

    b) Revenue Income - Customer and Client Receipts, Recharges etc

    a. Total Revenue Income £4,467,442
    b. Customer and Client Receipts £3,753,447
    c. Recharges £713,995
  • Thank you for that. Some of those costs are mind boggling.
  • I know what you mean... Scaling up what's needed from doing the garden at home is kind of outside what my brain can do.

    30k for tarting up the McKenzie garden seems loads. But when it start to think about the individual bits, I'm not so sure. It's a big space.
  • This pdf gives an idea of how critical to the earnings the large events are compared to the small ones

  • Thanks for sharing joust. Clearly Haringey have to be ever more creative to makes ends meet, but I can’t help but look ahead and ask where are we heading? If austerity persists and budgets continue to be cut, what will councils be forced to do next? Will the park be sold out to increasingly more events? Already it is taken over during the Summer for the best weeks in the year. The time the park should be fullest and enjoyed the most it is intolerable. When is it too much? What’s the limit?

    Haringey have to cope with the budgets they are given but if the consequences of there being no resistance to underfunding makes it easier for government to enact policy that underfunds public services and diminish quality of life.

    Is access to public space such as parks a right? I’m not best qualified to answer. I certainly don’t take it for granted, but at the same time, for all we put up with in London and all we put into it I would say it is the least we deserve.
  • It's what people voted for (central gov and local gov) - until the collective vote in a gov and a council that puts the council taxes up and channels funds into parks then we'll be in this predicament. It's about taxation, but also how the money is used. Only until a few years ago and as a kid, my local park was full of needles, dealers and broken things - no-one in the local community cared and thus the council did fuck all (and that was before the cuts). Luckily Haringey has invested a lot in Finsbury park, I suspect due to the pressure put on it by the friends group.

    As a community you need to put pressure on your local councillors and the council to invest in what matters to you - otherwise it will go off and put money into things that others ask for instead. Cynically, if you think of it like a business that only has one stakeholder, the community, it's going to invest in things that get them reelected, hence their budget priorities if you look at the breakdown.
  • Yeah. It's all about the balance. no point in having the wealthiest park in town if it's always closed for events. And it's no good having a broken park full of syringes with no events.

    I'd be genuinely interested in hearing what the "friends of Finsbury park" suggest should be cut from the parks budget to make up from the million quid the park earns in the "large" events that they want to ban. Or if they want the council to fund it, then what do they want Haringey to cut services to free up the cash?

    I don't mean to sound negative about the Friends of Finsbury Park group. I just only seem to hear them complaining like NIMBY people, and hear no solutions.
  • Why not have a special Parks and open space ring fenced rate s precept. You could make it progressive against rate bands. How about every rate payer paying £75 a year that can only be spent on parks.
  • I think there would be riots

    I think I'd be happy with it. But I think I'm saying that from my nice house in Stroud Green whilst I debate if I should have wild mushroom risotto with truffle oil or if I should have a scallops and pasta for tea.
  • Whilst the Friends Group are a tad unrealistic expecting the council to completely stop accommodating commercial events (especially as local authority budgets are getting stretched once again), I do have sympathy as Finsbury Park seems to have more disruption from events in comparison to similar parks.

    For example, it's worth taking a look at Victoria Park. In the past there used to be events fencing up for best part of 2 months, to accommodate Field Day in mid-June, then Lovebox around a month after. A couple of years ago they changed things, bringing in All Points East concentrated around 2 weekends at the end of May half-term. As a result, the council still brings in plenty of events revenue (apart from this year of course!), but the disruption to other park users and nearby residents is condensed into shorter period of time.

    In comparison Finsbury Park seems to have a lot of events causing longer lasting disruption, and perhaps they could learn from Victoria Park.
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