A notice posted on the Hounslow Council website yesterday confirms that the Barrio Fiesta has been cancelled due to fears over “health and safety”.
Event organisers, The Philippine Centre and 3Magpies Ltd and the Philippine Embassy were desperately trying to ensure that the event, which has run for 23 years peacefully without a hitch, will take place.
Up to 70000 people (including many of our readers who visit our stand each year) are expected to travel to the Fiesta, held in Lampton Park, Hounslow, from all over the UK and Europe. A number will have made plans or travelled already, and thousands more will have a wasted journey this weekend.
Sponsors and stallholders have invested many thousands of pounds, as well as precious time, on this event. Food stalls in particular will have bought supplies this week, much of which will go to waste.
It beggars belief that, at such a late stage, a major event should like this be pulled by a council obsessed with Health and Safety. Every year the bill for security and safety goes up as the red tape expands. Yet, unlike other events and carnivals, the Barrio Fiesta has never had a riot, murder or stabbing or any serious incidence of violent crime.
Hounslow Council said:
“We are committed to supporting this event in future years and hope to work closely with the Filipino community with their plans for future events to ensure that they take place in a safe and secure environment”.
The Statement Reads:
The Barrio Fiesta that was due to take place at Lampton Park in Hounslow on Saturday July 19th and Sunday July 20th will not go ahead because of fears over health and safety.
Event organisers have not been able to satisfy conditions requested by the Metropolitan Police or London Fire Brigade (Hounslow), so a licence for the Barrio has not been granted.
A spokesperson for John Laing Integrated Services, which manages parks and libraries on behalf of the London Borough of Hounslow, said: “We can confirm that the Barrio Fiesta will not take place in Lampton Park on the weekend of July 19 and 20 because the event has not been granted a licence.
“This decision has been made based upon advice from Hounslow Police and London Fire Brigade (Hounslow), who both expressed major concerns over the organisation of the event, particularly the health and safety of those who would attend it.
“We have made every effort to support the organisers of the Barrio to meet the obligations required to obtain the licence needed for management of large-scale community events like this. However, a number of the required licensing conditions have not been met.
“We are committed to supporting this event in future years and hope to work closely with the Filipino community with their plans for future events to ensure that they take place in a safe and secure environment.
“All stall holders will be contacted personally and be told of this decision.
“Over the weekend, police and park staff will be present at Lampton Park to redirect any visitors who still may attend.”
See the Philippine Centre website for further updates:
Immigration Matters will keep you informed of any changes to this advice.