The Friends of Battersea Park sent the following letter to Wandsworth Borough Council (WBC) on 24th September 2014.
Proposal for Formula E Motor Racing in Battersea Park on 27 June 2015
My letter of 15 September set out the Friends’ strong objections to allowing Formula E racing in the Park on 27 June 2015 and for four further years under a five year contract.
We have now seen Committee Paper 14-489 of 17 September and the Heritage Impact Assessment of 8 September.
I cannot stress too strongly that the enormous disruption associated with setting up Formula E (FE) racing in the Park is unacceptable. Noise from the cars is not a problem. A twelve day set up including barriers around the carriageways and debris fencing up to 3.5m high, as well as stands and stalls will be deeply intrusive and followed by the equally intrusive take-down process. The Heritage Impact Assessment draws out in particular the dangers of compaction affecting the trees. It also refers to closing the Park from 8 am on Friday 26 June until 6.30 am on Monday 29 June. This is a public park which should be open to the public, particularly at this, the busiest time of the year. If FE were to go ahead despite our objections, there can be no justification for closing the Park except on 27 June until 7pm.
It follows that we are particularly opposed to the notion in Committee Paper 14-489 that there could be two days of racing, open only to ticket holders. It is hard to see how, on a race day, non-ticket holders could also be allowed into parts of the Park.
Both papers highlight the extraordinary lack of detail associated with this proposal. The Committee paper refers to the first race ‘having been successfully held in Beijing on 13th September’ without mentioning the spectacular crash between the two leading cars or defining the criteria for measuring success. No attempt is made to establish the considerable cost in staff time to the Council in terms of dealing with this proposal. The ‘income arising from the scheme’ is unquantified. There is no mention of money being ring-fenced to benefit Battersea Park, which we would regard as essential.
We understand the Council’s wish to generate funds, but do not want to see such a level of disruption and potential damage to the Park. Please refer to my letter of 15 September for other points.
Separate comments follow on the detail in the Heritage Impact Assessment.
I am copying this letter to Ravi Govindia (current Leader of the Council), members of the Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Queenstown Councillors, (and selected Council staff).