Ice Age event coming to Gunnersbury Park but local residents feel frozen out

Many residents have contacted Cllr Joanna Dabrowska having found out about the impending several week event to be held in April at Gunnersbury Park, not by the Park, but via social media.

Cllr Dabrowska, was originally informed last autumn that such an event is being considered instead of the earlier proposal of the Magical Lantern, no further information was forthcoming whilst being promised by the Park’s events team that councillors would be kept informed. This is the only information we had been provided with, together with the promise that we would be kept informed:

Ice Age Event:
The organisers of the Magical Lantern Festival have withdrawn their application to deliver that event and have submitted a proposal to deliver an “Ice Age” themed event instead. The event is similar in format, where customers walk around a set route but instead of looking at illuminated lanterns at night time, there will be animatronic Ice Age animals such as Woolly Mammoths and Sabretooth Tigers. The event is open during the day. The proposed duration is shorter than the Magical Lantern Festival proposal and it is due to take place later in the year. The proposed dates are:

Load in commences: 25th March (now revised to 27th March)
First day open: 6th April
Final day open: 28th April
Load out finished: 2nd May

Since then, no information had been forthcoming and only in the last few days the event had popped up on social media.

Cllr Dabrowska checked the planning and licencing requirements as it fell outside the original licensing requirements for large events. Is there a separate licensing application as it exceeds the blanket outdoor events licence the Park currently holds?

A planning application was lodged with Hounslow Council on 6th February 2019, and was validated on 18th February. Notices had been put on four lampposts in the vicinity of the Park on 28th February with the consultation going on for 21 days, with adverts appearing in the Hounslow Chronicle and the Informer this Friday, 8th March.
Cllr Dabrowska was informed by the planning case officer that the determination date is 15th April.

Effectively, the decision may come after the event is supposed to start. What if it is refused? What if the decision comes too late?

Will Hounslow Council speed up the determination in time? Will it be at the expense of other planning applications if it is speeded up? What if another applicant wants a quicker decision?

Also, another matter to consider, Cllr Dabrowska believes the Park’s landscaping is listed therefore, does there need to be additional or ‘special’ planning permission sought? (Any listed landscape experts amongst the readership?)

Last autumn, we were informed that ‘The event premises will be located within the centre of the park, where the old golf course used to be.‘ However, when reviewing the planning application, Cllr Dabrowska noticed that the event will take over the majority of the Park. The Park is c.75 hectares and the application states that it will only cover 4,500m2. This is blatantly untrue that only 0.6% of the Park will be taken over by the event.

Additionally, according to the Park’s website, it claims that it will be holding an Community Information Drop-In session and to check back for a date. With a month to go nothing has been organised or communicated.

For anyone wishing to comment on the Planning Application, here is the link:

Cllr Joanna Dabrowska has reviewed the planning documents (from the above link) and has raised the following issues with the planing case officer:

  • Document 00631391 – Box 2 – Is the applicant a person named or is it a company (Weli Cultural Alliance)? This is to ensure the correct ownership as it states he is not an agent yet in box 25 the person states he is the agent
  • Document 00631391 – Size of event – the Park is c.75 hectares, which is 750,000 m2. The applicant has put down that only 4,500m2 of the Park will be taken over. This is blatantly untrue. 0.6%?
  • Document 00631391 – the descriptions in boxes 5 and 20 are incorrect. The event is over 37 days and in 2019.
  • Document 00631391 – box 6 – is this correctly answered? If vehicles will be driving in for setting up and de-rigging, will these entry/egress routes be shared with pedestrians or will access be restricted?
  • Document 00631391 – box 18 states that 10 FT and 16PT staff will be working on the site, is c.13FTE be enough to man the event?
  • Document 00632751 – Unless miscalculated, Day 23 is Monday 29th when the event is open, it is also de-rigging – so which is it? Looking at the safety aspect of event goers at the same of the de-rigging team
  • Document 00632751 – not sure what the bottom diagram represents
  • Document 00632748 – typo on the break date, should read 2nd May
  • Document 00632748 – traffic management – the document specifies that the company will provide security personnel at all gates – is this event gates or park gates?
    It states that there will be an approximate 100 extra vehicles arriving per hour which will be parking in surrounding streets. As per the documents, event goers will stay on average two hours, that means 200 vehicles may at any one time expect to be parked in neighbouring streets. There is no capacity for that extra volume of cars. Whilst there is a part time CPZ (9-10am and 2-3pm) north of Popes Lane and only Monday to Friday, means that residents in Ealing Common ward will be hugely affected. Roads in neighbouring Turnham Green ward have a CPZ whilst residents in Lionel Road North currently do have no controlled parking.
    The external traffic management plan is not sufficient for continuous additional parking. Other events like the Mela and Lovebox/Citadel have closed roads with residents-only access with marshals.
    Also, where will the event staff park their vehicles?
  • Documents 00631394 and 00631395 – both can’t be correct, it’s either or.

Additionally, Cllr Dabrowska has the following questions:

  • Listed landscaping – The Park’s landscaping is apparently listed, doesn’t special listed consent need to be obtained in addition or instead of the regular permission?
  • Licencing – Also, shouldn’t the Park be seeking an additional licence (as well as planning) since it falls outside of the blanket outdoor events licence that was granted in August 2017? Link to blanket licence:
  • Also, requested additional planning site notices to be erected at the gate opposite Elderberry Road and by the Gunnersbury Park Cafe