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Islington Council turn down Oktoberfest in Caledonian Park

PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 August 2015

There will be no steins in Caledonian Park next month

There will be no steins in Caledonian Park next month

Carmen Valino

Oktoberfest is not coming to Islington.

The festival, a beer-soaked celebration of Bavarian culture, was meant to run in Caledonian Park from Thursday, September 10 to Sunday, September 13.

But Islington Council’s Licensing Sub Committee refused permission at the town hall last night.

Nearby residents queued up to speak against the event, which was predicted to attract 5,500 punters to its 2,900 sq m tent.

Concerns ranged from anti-social behaviour, noise, damage to the park and its location next to a prostitution hotspot.

Mike Power, of the Clock Tower Residents’ Group, said: “Oktoberfest promotes high levels of alcohol consumption.

“In the Islington licensing policy review of 2012, you said alcohol consumption was a major factor in violent crime across the borough. You will make this situation worse by turning our community park into a big pub.”

Referring to “big breasted” waitresses he claimed Oktoberfest glorifies, Mr Power added: “It has no family values whatsoever. It’s a p***-up for young men who want to get trashed.”

Representing residents, Cllr Diarmaid Ward, for Holloway, said: “This is in September. Children will be back at school. Thursday and Sunday would be school nights and in my view the late night licence is disproportionate.”

Applicant Carsten Raun, of London Oktoberfest, denied Mr Power’s claims: “You will see people aged from 20-70 with a male to female ratio of 60-40, so it’s not just males looking to get drunk. Plus, it’s expensive German beer.

“This type of event is the only thing Germany and Britain has in common: we both like to come for a beer and a singalong with friends. It’s something new and special to Islington.”

He added: “We have 22 series around Europe this year. That’s 300,000 guests and we have never had to call the police.

“We are a professional company and want to make a professional event in Caledonian Park. We have a small army of security who make sure there are never any problems.”

But after a cross-examination of Mr Raun, the committee rejected his application, prompting cheers from residents.

The committee’s reasoning was not disclosed in the chamber, but said it would write to Mr Raun.

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