The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission The Battersea Society website 

Planning Committee Submission

Added on: 3 October 2014 at 12:15:02

Letter to Cllr Ravi Govindia Leader of the Council re Forumula-E racing

The Battersea Society is extremely concerned that the Community Services Scrutiny and Overview Committee on 25 September unanimously agreed in principle to stage the Formula E event in the Battersea Park in June 2015 (and for up to a further five years annually) subject to Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) views. We strongly urge that when this is further  considered on 7 October by the Executive a decision is taken not to proceed further with this event.

The Battersea Society believes this is directly contrary to the purpose of the park and the extensive use local people make of it. It considers that staging the event runs counter to the policy relating to Metropolitan Open Land in Policy 3D.10 of the London Plan and policy DMO 1: Protection and enhancement of open spaces in the Borough's Development Management Policies Document.

The London Plan policy 3D.10 Metropolitan Open Land states that boroughs should protect Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) from inappropriate development, into which category a major racing event such as this clearly falls. It goes on to state that borough policies should include a presumption against such inappropriate development of MOL.  In addition even appropriate uses will only be acceptable where they do not have an adverse impact on the openness of MOL.

In the Wandsworth DMPD Policy DMO 1: Protection and enhancement of open spaces in the Wandsworth DMPD states that ' …. areas of open space ….will be protected and enhanced and development will only be permitted where:

(i) it is linked to the functional use of the open space; and

(ii) it does not harm the character, appearance or function of the open space.

Cumulative impacts of development will be taken into account in this assessment.'

We fully support the arguments made by the Friends of Battersea Park in opposing the staging of the event both next year and regularly for a further five years. We consider that repeated large scale events in the long term are harmful to the character, appearance and function of the Park. 

The heritage impact study spells out specifically in section 8 pages 20 - 39 the likely detrimental impact. We do not feel there are any ameliorative measures which can justifiably be adopted to reduce the potential damage identified. It is quite clear that elements of the park would be destroyed or badly damaged, not to mention the local nuisance an event attracting up to 30,000 would cause to local residents.

Finally we have seen no proper justification for closing the whole of the park for general public enjoyment for the weekend during which the racing event takes. This would set an  unacceptable precedent for the use of the park which increasingly could become merely an arena for large scale commercial events. We urge the Executive to reject these proposals.

Copied to: Councillors Jonathan Cook, Paul Ellis, James Maddan, Guy Senior, Steffi Sutters, Kathy Tracey;Queenstown Ward Councillors;St Mary’s Park Councillors;Sara Milne, Chair, The Battersea Society;Frances Radcliffe, Chair, Friends of Battersea Park