Local Lib Dem Councillors have praised clean-up staff following recent Oasis concerts in Heaton Park, but voiced concerns that not enough was done to protect local people during the recent events. The concerts, which saw
210,000 people enjoy music in the park over three nights, generated controversy over noise, but passed largely without major trouble.
Commenting on the concerts, Cllr Vic D’Albert, Liberal Democrat member for Holyrood and Parliamentary candidate for Bury South said “What’s clear is that over 200,000 people came to Prestwich and had a great time. But there
were lots of problems for the people that live here, and we need to get the balance right. Before Manchester City Council think about having more concerts here, they need to think about Prestwich residents.”
Residents complained about excessive noise, particularly on the first night when a power failure caused a delay to the end of the concert. Cllr D’Albert said “Of course there was going to be noise, but I think continuing until 11.25 was too late, and I will be demanding that this never happens again. I want to know why the stage was set up facing the houses of Prestwich rather than the open space of the park, and why revellers weren’t moved on quicker at the end. This was particularly unpleasant for older residents and people with young children.”
Parking arrangements were only partially successful. Cllr D’Albert said “We were given assurances that public transport would work and parking wouldn’t be a problem. Whilst streets in St Margaret’s and Sheepfoot Lane were well protected, those in Sedgley and Rhodes were not, and this wasn’t good enough. Buses and taxis were dropping off people in the wrong place, and queues for trams were very long. We need improvements to help residents.”
Cllr D’Albert did praise some aspects of the organisation. “I thought the street cleaning service was excellent, and lots of local people enjoyed a concert, either as paying spectators or for free in their gardens. A lot of local people enjoyed themselves, and local businesses received a welcome boost in trade. The gigs have raised the profile of Prestwich, and that’s great. In addition, some of the profits will be spent improving local parks, so people will see long term benefits as a result of short term disruption.”
“Prestwich Local Area Partnership will receive a report into all aspects of the concerts, and make this available to local people so that we can represent their views. I look forward to working with everyone – local people, and Bury and Manchester Councils – to make sure that if these things are to happen again, we in Bury make Manchester City Council learn from what happened. There’s certainly room for improvement, but perhaps not for 200,000 people across three nights in quick succession. We need to deal with the noise better, reduce the numbers and restrict activity to sensible times and durations. We need to strike a balance between Prestwich people and money for Manchester.”