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Residents group says live concerts have left Hyde Park looking like a 'wasteland'

A photo of Hyde Park ground taken by Ron Whelan. Inset Bruce Springsteen

A photo of Hyde Park ground taken by Ron Whelan. Inset: Bruce Springsteen performing in the park earlier this year

Published: 7 September, 2012
by JOSH LOEB

IT looks more like the dusty badlands of Helmand, Afghanistan, than a verdant green lung in the centre of London.

This is Hyde Park post-London Live, a series of Olympic events featuring giant screens and musical extravaganzas.

The gigs last month drew hundreds of thousands of revellers, but have met with the disapproval of locals including Ron Whelan, the chairman of the Mayfair Residents Group.

He sent this image to the West End Extra to show how grass had been scraped away by the soles of shoes and the park turned into “a wasteland”.

Mr Whelan said he fears the costs of restoring the green space will exceed £1million – something he said shows the economic argument for staging concerts in the park is not borne out.

“Noisy” concerts in the park have sparked the ire of residents including newly elected ward councillor Antonia Cox, but the The Royal Parks, which manages the space, have said money raised from such events helps fund the management of the eight parks it looks after.

Mr Whelan said: “It looks like a wasteland. It’s impossible to go there and have a picnic anymore. The park is supposed to be for everyone to enjoy. It has been left looking in a terrible state.”

A Royal Parks spokeswoman: “The Royal Parks was proud to play such a significant role in the London 2012 Games, with Hyde Park not only hosting the Olympic Triathlon and Marathon Swimming events, but also BT London Live where over 800,000 visitors watched live Olympic competitions for free.

“As per previous years, following the concert series in Hyde Park, the Parade Ground will be restored to its previous condition. The Royal Parks team at Hyde Park has extensive park management experience and are experts in planning for large events and restoring the grounds effectively and to a high standard.”
 

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