We received the following response from Cllr Juliet McCaffery to our letter to the Argus about this year’s Pride event:
I spent three hours at Pride on the Saturday afternoon and saw what a wonderful event it was, but I also saw how crowded it was. Perhaps Pride has grown too big for Preston Park. Also there were insufficient toilets and this led to inappropriate behaviour at least in the bushes near the Church.
It was particularly disappointing to go down to the Park with my dog on Monday morning around 9.00 and see the appalling mess – a sea of paper, cans, bottles and glass right across the park and even a burnt out structure. It looked like nothing had been cleared. I immediately phoned Cllr Mears, the Leader of the Council and she told me that though clearing up was part of the arrangement with Pride, Council workers were now clearing up the mess. They did a really good job, but considering how many families and young children and dog walkers use the park, it was very worrying still to see them on Tuesday on their hands and knees painstakingly picking up small pieces of glass.
The event made the park virtually unusable for a week in the school holidays. I told Cllr. Mears that this was not acceptable.
Cllr Juliet McCaffery, Labour
See also the responses from Citypark’s Alan Griffiths and Cllr Kevin Allen.
We received the following response from Cllr Kevin Allen to our letter to the Argus about this year’s Pride event:
I strongly agree with the points you make in your letter.
It is clear from your letter that Friends of Preston Park is set to play a crucial role in reclaiming Preston Park for families and other regular park users. You can count on my support.
My own view is that Pride has now outgrown Preston Park, even when the event is better managed than it was this year. At the very least they need to charge for entrance, thus limiting numbers. The council for its part needs to be tougher in its negotiations with the organisers, more effectively holding them to account. But I want to press for a change of venue, certainly for a rotation of venues. Why Preston Park every year? What about Stanmer Park or East Brighton Park? If Pride were held in Stanmer Park the parade would be within the park. If in East Brighton Park the parade could be along the seafront, rather than through the London Road, where trade is badly affected because regular shoppers stay away.
This won’t make me popular in some quarters, but I do feel it is time to ask some pretty fundamental questions about Pride and Preston Park.
Cllr Kevin Allen, Labour, Preston Park
See also the response from Citypark’s Alan Griffiths.
Over the past few weeks we’ve been conducting an extensive survey of the views of users of Preston Park. Our questionnaire asked: ‘What do you most dislike/would want to change about the park?’, ‘There are decommissioned bowling greens in the park, what would you like to see them used for?’ and ‘What sort of events would you like to see being held at the park?’
We have now collated all the information – there were 121 completed forms altogether. Your responses have been recorded and we are now in the process of acting on those issues that were most commonly stated. To find out more, come along to our general meeting on Wednesday, 1st September at 7pm in the men’s bowling pavilion.
Our next public meeting is on September 1st, 2010 at 7pm in the men’s bowling pavilion. We’ll be presenting the results of our community questionnaire and discussing plans for the future.
You are very welcome to join us. The meeting should last no longer than 90 minutes.
The cleansing company that Pride employed this year were not up to the job – very ineffective and City Clean had to be called in to help out.
They spent Monday & Tuesday clearing up and at one point had four road sweepers on the park sweeping and sucking up the glass, bottle tops etc. then on Wednesday I arranged for approximately 30-40 of our parks staff to do a handpick the main grass areas clearing as much of the glass as we could.
We will continue to litter pick over the coming days/weeks and have already responded to a number of specific complaints, although you indicate that the glass problem is far worse this year this is not the case – every year we are picking up glass weeks later! The event is in actual fact glass free but this of course does not stop people bringing in bottles in, these then get broken during the breakdown by the traders vehicles etc.
Please be assured Cityparks will do the best we can to make the park safe as possible over the coming days and weeks.
All the issues raised by the Pride event this year will be discussed at a debrief with the organisers and all agencies involved at the end of this month.
Operations Manager (North)
On August 9th, we sent the following letter to The Argus. It was included on the letters page on August 11th:
It would be obvious to anybody looking to make use of the facilities at Preston Park on Monday that something went wrong with the organisation of this year’s Pride event clean-up. The park was in a terrible condition, with rubbish everywhere, including broken glass ground into the grass by lorries.
In previous years the clean-up operation has been relatively swift and effective but on this occasion, some 36 hours after the event, the park was still largely unusable.
Pride has become integral to Brighton’s identity – but perhaps it is time to reassess how such an important event is organised. Is it really appropriate for the park to be out of action for so long right in the middle of the school holidays? Is Preston Park big enough to hold such massive crowds? Is there enough effort made to ensure such a large group of people is sensibly controlled?
Thank you for visiting the website of the Friends of Preston Park. Here we will be providing news and information about both the park in general and our own group. We encourage you to join us as a friend of the park – there is no cost involved and it will enable you to be kept fully up-to-date about our events and meetings. To join simply click on the Join Us button on the menu above and fill in your contact details.
You can contact us with any comments or queries using the Contact facility, also on the menu above.
Enjoy the site. You can comment on any of the postings on this page, or read the comments made by others, by clicking on the Comments link beneath each posting.