A taskforce will be implemented to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour at this summer’s Parklife festival, in a bid to appease concerned residents near Heaton Park.
The weekend event moved to the site in 2012 to accommodate increasing numbers, and the City Council are working in conjunction with organisers to ensure problems from previous years aren’t repeated.
A dedicated Community Impact Taskforce – inspired by operations run at Glastonbury and other leading festivals – will aim to support the effective management of an estimated 135,000 people travelling to and from the event on June 6 and 7.
The news comes as hundreds of Prestwich residents signed a petition to campaign for Parklife to be scrapped due to the anti-social behaviour it brings to the area.
GMP Chief Superintendent John O’Hare said: “This is a new opportunity for Greater Manchester Police and partners to deal with any anti-social behaviour, in response to concerns expressed to us by local residents following previous festivals and concerts held in Heaton Park.
“It is a chance for us to work closely with the community and offer them a direct line of communication with both the police and and the relevant council.
“This new model allows us to respond more effectively to issues and concerns arising as a result of the event, and will hopefully improve the experience for both the local residents and festival goers.”
The taskforce will aim to enforce additional security measures and enhance existing arrangements to improve cleaning, parking and noise management.
They will also be ensuring effective travel arrangements to minimise disruption to residents, including putting a taxi operation in place to support the Metrolink and the Parklife Express shuttle bus services.
A separate taskforce control centre will also be created to coordinate operations and communicate with local residents and businesses during the festival.
Jon Drape, Parklife event director, said: “Parklife Festival values the views of the local community and takes on board the feedback from last year.
“Through setting up the Community Impact Taskforce and working closely with the Local Authorities and Greater Manchester Police, Parklife Festival aims to strengthen its relationship with the surrounding area and minimise any potential negative impact from the festival, as well as generating greater benefits to local businesses, colleges and charities.”
The taskforce will also review how local businesses and the community can benefit from educational, employment and volunteering opportunities the festival provides.
Parklife creates a significant economic impact locally, employing more than 3,000 staff and investing £1.65m into Greater Manchester suppliers, along with benefiting hotel, transport, food, retail and charity sectors.
Other measures are also being developed including investing in ground drainage to make sure the park recovers quickly following large events.
Councillor Rosa Battle, executive member for Culture and Leisure said: ” We believe that the revised approach that we are taking will tackle many of the issues highlighted and address the concerns expressed within the community.
“We recognise how important it is to get this right – and the impact that it has on the local area and community, both positive and negative.
“Greater Manchester is focused on delivering the improvements required to make this one of the best-run festivals in the country.”
Image courtesy of Other Days, with thanks.