The number of concerts held at Hyde Park in London is to be cut from 13 per year to nine after complaints from residents. Westminster Council has also decided to reduce the number of people who can attend the events, from 80,000 to 65,000, and in some cases to 50,000. The changes come into effect next year. (BBC, 17th February 2012)
Hyde Park’s licence to host events came under review after complaints about noise almost doubled since 2008. Hyde Park is managed by the Royal Parks which has previously said restrictions could leave it with a £1.5m funding gap. However, the Royal Parks, the Environmental Health service and organisers have agreed to the changes. Councillor Audrey Lewis, Westminster Council’s Licensing chairman, said: “We have a duty to balance the needs of local residents with the desire of concert organisers to hold events.’ The review has therefore taken into account the needs of all stakeholders – the residents who want less noise, the event organisers who need to make profit, as well as the Royal Parks which needs to earn revenues to meet its costs.
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London’s Mayor Boris Johnson has also acknowledged the importance of balancing stakeholder needs: ‘Westminster [Council] are right to respect their residents, but they also have a responsibility for the economic vitality of the capital overall. Large-scale music events like the Hyde Park concerts make a massive contribution to London’s economy.’
Some of the measures agreed at the council meeting will come into effect immediately, including trials of a new noise-reduction system along with the monitoring of sound levels. However, the staging of live Olympics screenings and concerts planned for 2012 were not included in the review and the council agreed that an 18-day series of concerts will be held in the park to celebrate the Games and events related to the Queen’s Jubilee.
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