Kids could be charged if ‘big top’ at Coram’s Fields is axed
19 May, 2011
Published: 19th May, 2011
by JOSIE HINTON
CHILDREN could be charged to use a popular playground in Bloomsbury after complaints about “noisy” fundraising events cast doubt over its future.
More than 200 people have signed a “Keep Coram’s Fields Free” petition after trustees of the historic park revealed they could be forced to introduce an entry fee if they lose their licence to host private events.
Each year the park, which contains a farm, a paddling pool, a playground and a café, rents out space to corporate groups to hold Christmas parties in a 1,000-capacity marquee known as the “Bloomsbury Big Top”.
Trustees say the tent is vital in raising funds to keep the park going – but it has sparked opposition from neighbours who say it is disturbing their sleep.
Bill Glossop, who lives in Mecklenburgh Square, said the marquee resembles an “open-air festival” permitted to “blast away” until past midnight five nights a week during December, and has called for it to be removed.
In a letter to Camden Council, he wrote: “No [noise] tests were made here but should have been since the effect of reflected sound makes it impossible to sleep during this rowdy festival.”
But Sara Payne, vice-chairwoman of the trustees of Coram’s Fields, said the events were “absolutely vital” in raising funds to pay for the upkeep of animals and maintenance of the park.
“We acknowledge that there was a problem last year with noise and it’s something we are really keen to address,” she added. “It’s not just about us keeping our income, but also about keeping our good name in the neighbourhood.
“We are going to try our hardest to resolve this issue to the satisfaction of our neighbours, as with Camden cutting funds available, we are really keen to keep hosting an event in December.”
Carolyn Gelenter, who lives in the Brunswick Centre, added: “Coram’s is the most wonderful haven in the middle of such a large city. It is a fundamental part of our community and I believe that everyone living in the area should see it as a positive place that must be kept free for all children to enjoy.”
Licensing officials will decide on June 16 whether the marquee can stay.
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