All the people, so many people: Anti-Parklife petition rallies Prestwich residents

Hundreds of spurned Prestwich residents are rallying behind a recent petition to scrap this year’s Parklife festival.

The Heaton Park event faces growing resentment following the rampant anti-social behaviour, violence and drug taking that marked it last summer.

Since the petition was announced in mid-December, many have voiced compelling reasons to halt the upcoming event, or at least improve its organisation.

Stewart Wilson, owner of Prestwich business, RelionUS DIY, said: “For the past few years we might as well have closed up during the event, as we make nothing.

“People use the back of our shop as toilets, take drugs there, and we are left to pick up the syringes.

“All the roads get closed and with thousands and thousands of people milling around it’s just not safe.”

The petition against the popular event has so far acquired 300 signatures, with plans to gain further support in the next few weeks.

Gridlocked streets, diminished trade for businesses, drugs, violence, and the lack of any noticeable benefit to the area are the most common complaints.

One resident, wishing to remain anonymous, said: “It’s the wrong venue, yet each year they never learn from their mistakes.

“It’s smack bang in the middle of a residential area, and my family and I feel like prisoners in our own home during the concert.

“We live on Bury Old Road and to have over 100,000 people walk past and bang on your window is absolutely terrifying.“

Many also accuse Manchester City Council of placing financial gain above the needs of the small residential community.

According to Councillor Alan Quinn, MCC gains £300,000 and the event organisers reap untold millions at the expense of Prestwich residents.

Anonymous comments, collected for the online petition and provided by Bury council’s deputy leader Rishi Shori, also reveal a vast mount of discontent.

One commenter said: “I am the supervisor for a Prestwich restaurant and I dread the abusive behavior from guests of the concert.

“The weekend has a huge negative impact on my business and I have to hire additional security to deal with the issues.”

Other grievances include an unwillingness to allow an event into Prestwich where a murder, three stabbings and assaults took place last year.

However, not all Prestwich residents are for removing the festival. Bricklayer Warren Harper, 27, said: “There’s no way you can cancel it.

“It’s a fun time for young people, some just need to get a grip and let younguns have their fun.”

The results of the petition will be taken to the owners of Heaton Park, Manchester City Council, in February and the event’s future will be decided from there.

Summing up the discontent, Councillor Michael James said: “Local residents do not want it, local businesses do not want it and our community does not want it.

“It is simply not tenable to expect Prestwich to clean up other people’s mess.”

The petition was launched by Bury South MP Ivan Lewis and Sedgley councillors Michael James, Alan Quinn and Andrea Simpson.

It aims to end the staging of any large concerts at Heaton Park, starting with the festival in June.

Main image courtesty of The Parklife Weekender, via YouTube, with thanks.

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