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Court dismisses challenge to decision by council to allow festival to go ahead

The High Court has rejected a judicial review challenge to the London Borough of Haringey’s decision to allow the Wireless Festival to take place at Finsbury Park in July.

The Friends of Finsbury Park had crowd funded a challenge to the 18 March 2016 decision of the local authority to hire the park to Festival Republic Ltd.

In their statement of facts and grounds they had argued that:

1. The council failed to carry out a consultation in accordance with the Sedley rules and the legitimate expectation created by its outdoor events policy;

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2. The council failed to deal with the application as a key decision (including in advance publicity) and to record the decision and to make the officer report, decision and background documents available as required by the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012, regulations 8 to 14 and the council’s Constitution;

3. The council’s decision to close part of the park for the purposes of the Festival was unlawful since it contravened:

(a) The restriction upon the size of the area which may be closed under Article 7 of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government Provisional Order Confirmation (Greater London Parks and Open Spaces) Act 1967 (“the 1967 Act”);

(b) The restrictions on the duration for which a park may be closed to the public, in whole or in part, in section 44 of the Public Health Amendment Act 1890 (“the 1890 Act”);

4. The council failed to have regard to a relevant consideration, its own Finsbury Park Management Plan, and that the number of persons attending the event exceeded the limits in that plan.

However, after a hearing on Wednesday the High Court ruled that the festival could take place.

Haringey’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Peray Ahmet, said: “We are pleased with [the] ruling, which means that large scale live music events in Finsbury Park and open spaces across London are no longer under threat. Events like Wireless make a huge contribution to London’s cultural scene and in Haringey bring in hundreds of thousands of pounds which is spent improving our parks and attracting more visitors.

“We will continue to work with residents and event organisers to ensure the Wireless festival is safe and enjoyable for all."

The Friends of Finsbury Park said on Twitter: “We are considering [the] judgement and will be issuing a statement…. which will outline our plans to appeal this decision.”

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