Redbridge Green Fair relocates to smaller venue after fallout with council
PUBLISHED: 09:30 02 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:05 02 May 2018
Festival organisers have hit out at Redbridge council after reduced funding has forced them to relocate to a smaller site.
Redbridge Green Fair is being relocated from its “home” in Melbourne Field, in Ilford, to Ken Aston Square, in High Road, Barkingside, a decision the fair’s directors said they made “reluctantly” in statement released last week.
“We are angry about having to pay £3,000 for the field,” said festival manager Ros Southern, a fee the directors described as “exorbitant” and “inequitable”.
“We have to pay Vision Redbridge more for the field than the fair ground and everybody else because we are a ‘large event’,” she added.
Ros estimates the Green Fair costs around £17,000 to run.
Between the council’s environment department and now-abolished area committees, the fair previously received a total of up to £13,000 in funding which has now ceased, she added.
Since it was founded in 1990, the fair has drawn in crowds of up to 10,000 people.
Ros hopes that this year’s event will be able to accommodate 1,500.
A council spokeswoman said: “We are sorry to hear of the organisational difficulties they’ve been experiencing but it is not the case that their financial problems are of the council or its leisure partner Vision’s making.
“The council has agreed an arts grant of £3,000 for the Green Fair and Vision offered a generous payment option for the costs of the field to help with the cash flow of the event, as well as the support and assistance of their events manager.”
Labour group leader Cllr Jas Athwal said that he offered assistance to keep the fair going this year on the condition that it became self-sufficient in following years.
He added: “In a time of Tory government austerity where we’ve had to save £132m from our budgets it is important that these types of organisations and events become self-sufficient and not rely solely on tax payer assistance.”
Conservative Group leader Paul Canal said: “Labour could cover the costs of the Fair with a week’s wage slip for one of their consultants.”
He added: “If Jas likes the project, he follows the money.
“If he doesn’t, he follows the excuses.”