The Winterville fair, on Clapham Common, has embarked on a PR drive to win us all over to the repeat of the five-week event in November / December this year. It benefits from a year-long events planning permission, but (as far as we are aware) still needs an alcohol license.
Winterville has run for a few years, but only recently moved to Clapham from Victoria Park (presumably attracted by the potentially profitable mix of wealthy young families by day / outgoing twenty- and thirtysomethings by evening).
The cross-London move seems to have been a success for Winterville, but it’s fair to say it’s had a mixed reception locally – on the one hand it’s a free entry event (most of the time – charges applied Friday & Saturday evenings), it’s run professionally, and it’s been quite appreciated as a local day out by a fair few residents. On the other hand there was inevitably some disturbance to neighbours despite the entrance being deliberately deep in the Common, and the grass took a real punishing last time round and it took months until the area was usable again.
From a Lavender Hill perspective, we were dismayed to see that last year Winterville blatantly (and illegally) glued huge posters to several shop fronts along Lavender Hill (one of our pictures above). These were a huge nuisance for the owners and traders to remove (the one above was removed two days later, but it left some damage to the glass), and (where Winterville started, in some cases – where shops were empty – others followed and before we knew it once tidy shops (and the paving below them) were littered with glue and layers of tatty posters).
Winterville’s claims in their letter to residents (here’s a large version) that they are “a community event designed […] to enrich the local community”, and that they want to “benefit the area” ring rather hollow when they behave like this on their local streets!
We don’t object to Winterville returning – but only if they respect their neighbours! There are plenty of legal ways to advertise. Rampant illegal flyposting suggests the co-producers Marcus Weedon & London Union may not be suitable operators for such an event.
We’ll be contacting Winterville to establish how this happened last year (including who they used to affix their advertising, if they say they didn’t do it themselves – not that this absolves them of moral responsibility, or indeed legal liability under the town & Country Planning Act). But more importantly, we’ll also be seeking reassurances on what concrete steps they will take to prevent this type of behaviour happening again (if, indeed, the event runs again). And, when they’ve had a reasonable chance to comment, we’ll of course be feeding in views on whether they seem to be a fit and proper operator – and on the conditions that should apply to such events more generally – to Lambeth (and Wandsworth) Councils.