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Battle by 38 Degrees to save public parks from commercial festivals gets 170,000 names online

PUBLISHED: 19:02 31 January 2017 | UPDATED: 15:45 07 February 2017

Music in the park... summer festivals at east London's Victoria Park [photo: Giles Smith]

Music in the park... summer festivals at east London's Victoria Park [photo: Giles Smith]

Giles Smith - www.gilosco.pe

A petition to stop commercial events taking over east London’s huge Victoria Park has been signed by almost 1,500 people from neighbouring streets.

Online campaign by 38 Degrees to stop puplic parks being privatised, often usdd for commercial events [photo: Jenna Foxton]Online campaign by 38 Degrees to stop puplic parks being privatised, often usdd for commercial events [photo: Jenna Foxton]

Campaigners in Bethnal Green and Bow are among 170,000 nationwide signing the online petition to safeguard public open spaces up and down the country in the first ever ‘people powered’ investigation into public parks.

Freedom of Information requests were sent to Tower Hamlets and other local authorities from the 38 Degrees campaign organisation which held the online petition, asking for details of any discussions with private companies about renting out parks.

Families living next to Vicky Park have been campaigning for six years against its increased commercial use during summer months when sections are cordoned off, sometimes for weeks on end, and having to put up with late night noise and nuisance.

“A lot of us living near Vicky Park are on low incomes and live in tiny spaces,” Joanna Pocock told the East London Advertiser.

“Parks are a chance to get out, let our kids play, switch off the TV and get off the sofa. They help fight against childhood obesity.

“Libraries and parks are the cornerstones to healthy childhoods and cohesive communities.”

The online petition by 38 Degrees follows Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali taking part in a Parliamentary Communities and Local Government committee of inquiry into public parks.

Petition organiser Rachel Diamond-Hunter said: “It’s important for Rushanara to keep her constituents in mind when deciding what happens to our green spaces. People in Bethnal Green and Bow see their parks as an absolute priority.”

The petition calls for parks to be under “statutory duty” legal protection to remain publicly accessible at all times. The Parliamentary committee is holding an inquiry into public parks amid fears that their existence is under threat.

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