Lambeth's green light to giant campsite

Published: Tuesday 29th March 11

Councillors have expressed dismay at a decision by Lambeth Council to grant permission for a giant campsite on Clapham Common for visitors to next month’s royal wedding.

On Friday Lambeth announced its formal approval for a private company's plans to fence off a large part of the common and turn it into a three day campsite.

Around 4,000 campers will each pay £75 to pitch their tents on the common, while up to 5,000 others are expected to visit the organiser's "entertainment zone".

However, residents living near Clapham Common do not appear to have been asked what they think about a large section of the common being fenced off for three days.

Wandsworth's environment spokesman Cllr Sarah McDermott said: "When this issue first emerged in media reports a fortnight ago, senior managers at Lambeth assured us that no decision would be taken without first speaking to local residents and local amenity groups.

"It seems only fair and natural that people living near the common should be asked their views about such an intensive and intrusive use of the common for such a prolonged period of time.

"Regrettably it is not entirely clear what consultation if any was done prior to this decision being formally announced at the end of last week.

"I do note however, that despite Lambeth's assurances that they had not made up their minds until a few days ago, the organisers have been selling tickets for at least a fortnight, while over the same period, National Express has been busy arranging buses and selling coach tickets to the event.

"In all our dealings with Lambeth we have been at pains to stress that we do not wish to spoil the party. But at the same time we have asked for assurances that residents on our side of the borough boundary will not suffer unreasonable inconvenience. Unfortunately we have not received these assurances.

"We continue to seek assurances from officers and councillors in Lambeth that residents in Wandsworth will not be not subjected to unreasonable noise, disturbance or anti-social behaviour from campers.

"If we do not receive satisfactory answers to our questions we may have to explore other avenues to protect our residents' interests."

Hundreds of homes in Wandsworth will be affected by the event. The borough boundary between the two boroughs runs north/south through the middle of the common - meaning that half the common is geographically located in the borough of Wandsworth.

However for operational reasons the common is managed solely by Lambeth.

The three day camping event is scheduled from April 28 to May 1. Prince William and Catherine Middleton will be married at Westminster Abbey on April 29, which has been designated a bank holiday.

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Recent comments

I am appauled that this is able to go ahead without any consultation of the local residents that will be effected by this event. Surely this cannot be allowed to happen! Quite apart from the mess, the noise, the threat to local security, the damage to the Common will be irreparable. Is this a start of things to come? Will we have people camping all over the Common next year for the Olympics. Lambeth Council are obviously viewing this as a complete money making excercise. I object most strongly to their decision to hold this event.
Lucinda Harding-Rolls

30 March 2011