More than 450 people have signed an online petition to try and prevent the event from happening, fearing it will effect the local are through noise pollution, increased traffic and anti-social behaviour. Alice in Winterland is billed as a unique and enchanting experience and adventure, featuring a storytelling of the classic tale ‘Alice in Winterland’ told through handmade lanterns. 29 interactive scenes will take guests through the story which include a 5m-tall Alice and a life-size Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
The event is due to take place from Nov 21, 2018 Jan 5, 2019, with days allocated prior and after the event for setup and dismantling. The park is a designated Site of Importance for Nature Conservation due to the rare species onsite, including a rare species of bat which hibernate during the winter period. Local residents are have raised concerns for the long-term effect that the event will have on the park including the disturbance of the bats and the damage which may occur due to the heavy equipment and lorries used.
The local council have proposed new amendments to the event which aim to please the concerns of residents including increased security and noise limitations but this isn’t enough to please all. Residents visiting the park anonymously told Journalism.London that some councillors are against the event taking place in its current form including Councillor Eliza Mann and Councillor Hamish McCallum.
Councillor Rebecca Leary, Deputy Leader and Labour Councillor for North Walworth is in favour of the event taking place and told JLDN: “Part of what we are doing is having other events running in our parks that can bring in some income that allows us to be able to continue to do the free events. It is also about being able to showcase the great things that are going on in Southwark and the great parks that we have as well”
Organisers have been keen to work with the community, having been working with local schools and community groups to help find talent to perform on the bandstand area proposed for the event, with local school and community choirs set to take centre stage.
The final public consultation about the event is due to take place Oct 30, 2018 at 7pm, where residents and those with concerns or suggestions can attend the planning committee. The planning committee is due to take place in the council offices, 160 Tooley Street.