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secretary of state consent for event structures on clapham common

In 2019 Lambeth publicly committed to applying for Secretary of State consent for temporary event structures for large events held on Clapham Common. Due to Covid-19, the first time this could be actioned was for the 2021 Festival Republic event, planned to take place over the August Bank Holiday. The application form, which is processed by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), requires full details of the proposed structures, including the length of perimeter fencing. As soon as this information was received from Festival Republic, in April 2021, the application was submitted to PINS and notification was published in a local newspaper and across the common. Lambeth had employed planning consultants to ensure the application process was undertaken correctly and they remained in contact with PINS over subsequent months regarding progress on the application. However, immediately prior to the event build starting, PINS informed Lambeth that they would not be able to give a decision before the event would take place and asked if we wished to withdraw our application. Based on legal advice received it was understood that PINS would be able to give a retrospective decision – and there are several retrospective decisions published on their website. As it was too late to cancel, the event was permitted to proceed and PINS were asked to continue processing the application.

Lambeth would like to publicly apologise that the 2021 event was allowed to go ahead without Secretary of State consent being in place.

In order to work within the long decision-making process for Secretary of State consent, Festival Republic will not be holding events on Clapham Common in 2023 and Lambeth will shortly submit a consent application for 2024. That should provide sufficient time to allow the event planning to take place if a positive outcome is secured.