Chingford News Walthamstow

Highams Park in uproar over sudden arrival of ‘inappropriate’ funfair

A funfair employee reportedly told one resident they paid the council £15,000 to use the site
By Victoria Munro

Police attended a resident protest against the funfair yesterday
Police attended a resident protest against the funfair yesterday

Residents are in uproar after only discovering Highams Park is being taken over by a two-week funfair through adverts on Facebook.

Those living in and around Henry Avenue, some of whom live “literally metres” from the proposed fairground, insist their local park is not a suitable location for the event.

They – and even the area’s local councillor – had no idea it was going ahead until posters began appearing in the area and on social media last week, stating the event will last from 8th to 17th July.

Yesterday, irate residents showed up to block trucks entering the park to set up – only to discover legally parked cars meant the road was too narrow for them anyway.

Waltham Forest Council put in temporary parking restrictions to allow operator Amusement World access and the trucks returned late that night, with the last reportedly entering the site at midnight.

Trucks arriving late last night

One resident, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, told the Echo: “It’s a shambles. This is a residential street and there’s not even any parking, it’s a really odd location.

“It’s been advertised everywhere but us residents knew nothing about it. We had no letter from the council, we found out when all the signs went up last week.”

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She added that she was sympathetic to the concerns of Amusement World staff, one of whom reportedly told her the company paid the council £15,000 to use the site.

Speaking yesterday afternoon, resident Sinead Morgan said she contacted her local councillor, Conservative Marion Fitzgerald, last week and was told she had “no clue” the fair had been agreed.

Sinead added: “This is a landscaped park with beautiful views of the City of London, not just a green space. The houses are so close and there will be days of noise and bustle. 

“[Amusement World] are trying to bring in their trucks now and they can’t because the roads are too narrow, it’s just not appropriate for it.”

Amusement World have run several previous funfairs in Waltham Forest and surrounding boroughs. Their fairs open six days a week until 9pm, with music switched off at 8pm.

When contacted for comment, Cllr Naheed Asghar, cabinet member for parks and open spaces, said: “The funfair at Highams Park is intended to cater to local families and is of an appropriately small scale to operate safely and securely on the site. 

“This is in line with consultations carried out by the council’s parks service with the borough’s ‘Friends of Green Spaces Group’ earlier this year.

“The funfair’s operating hours and music levels are strictly controlled with silent bio-fuelled generators powering the site to ensure minimal noise pollution for nearby residents. Similarly, all catering waste is managed and uses biodegradable materials for recycling.”

A previous version of this article used a picture of concerned residents inside the park that included members of an unrelated exercise class – it has been removed on request

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