Hyde Park concerts to be cut after complaints

Council ruling to affect concerts from 2012

Photographer:Michael Gregory

Chris Swindells - 19 February 2012

The decision late Friday afternoon (Feb 17) will not largely affect 2012 Hyde Park events, including the Wireless Festival 2012, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen at Hard Rock Calling 2012.

In 2013 the number of concerts permitted in Hyde Park, London will fall from 13 to nine, and crowds reduced from 80,000 to 65,000, and in some cases 50,000.

The ruling by Westminster Council's licensing subcommittee follows months of disputes and 109 complaints from local residents in 2011, up 100 percent on 2010.

Local residents in the affluent Knightsbridge and Belgravia areas complained about noise levels and the council agreed to more monitoring points for music with a repetitive bass beat, which will be tested through the 2012 events and reassessed later in the year.

The decision also means for events this summer there will be improved provisions for safety at the end of concerts, including more stewards, and for cleaning up mess left after them, both in and around the park, with costs to be met by the Royal Parks.

The concerts in Hyde Park currently raise the royal park and Westminster Council a total of £1.5 million every year. In 2011 even with a maximuim of 13 events permitted only 11 took place, including two Proms and concerts by artists including Kings of Leon and the Chemical Brothers.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said he was "delighted" by the decision, which meant "all systems are go for a summer like no other in our Olympic year".

Cllr Audrey Lewis, Westminster Council’s Licensing Chairman said:

Legally, as central London’s licensing authority, we have a duty to balance the needs of local residents with the desire of concert organisers to hold events and the compromise that the committee has reached tonight does all of this.

We will monitor the additional noise control measures and continue to work with both concert organisers and residents to ensure this is an effective solution to concerns raised.

Hyde Park has been the venue for many historic live shows, including Live 8, Queen, Blur and also the Proms in the Park concerts as part of the BBC Proms.

The venue also hosted The Rolling Stones in 1969 with what is considered to be one of the largest concert crowds in UK history, with an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 people in attendance.


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