Controversial plan to sell alcohol in Finsbury Park dropped

Finsbury Park, where events firm Assembled Gala had applied to serve alcohol for nine hours a day

Finsbury Park, where events firm Assembled Gala had applied to serve alcohol for nine hours a day - Credit: Google

A controversial plan to set up a drinking and entertainment venue in Finsbury Park was not discussed by councillors after the item was withdrawn.

Haringey Council’s licensing sub-committee had been due to consider an application for The Open Arms event on Tuesday, but the meeting was cancelled at short notice.

Events firm Assembled Gala wanted to serve alcohol for nine hours a day from Wednesday to Sunday at a venue in the park between the athletics track and Manor House Tube Station.

It would have been open from May until the end of September.

According to a council report, the applicant advised the venue would have capacity for 700 people – significantly more than the 150 stated on the original park hire application.

As well as selling alcohol, it would host plays, films, live music, recorded music and dance.

But the plans ran into considerable public opposition, with nearly 1,000 people signing an online petition calling on the council to reject the application.

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In addition, more than 100 residents lodged formal objections with the local authority. 

Concerns included the loss of park space, crime, the duration of the event and the impact on children and vulnerable people.

Some warned against encouraging more people to attend the park during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Metropolitan Police objected, saying the applicant had not provided them with enough information relating to public safety and the prevention of crime and disorder.

Islington Council also opposed the plans, warning there would be no restriction on where attendees could go and “no safe space for those who do not want to be impacted”.

In papers submitted to the council, the applicant claimed the open-air nature of the event would allow for social distancing and ventilation. It also pledged to carry out a full Covid-19 risk assessment.

The events firm planned to run a “challenge 25” policy to prevent underage drinking and have security personnel on site.

Assembled Gala has been approached for comment.

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