Music Festival 'Churned Up' Wimbledon Park

Damaged grass areas not restored following Tom Kerridge's Pub in the Park

Organiser says heavy rainfall contributed to the problem. Picture: Jonny Tyson

May 23, 2023

Users of Wimbledon Park are unhappy after they say it has been left “churned up” after a food and music festival, run by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, came to town.

Pub in the Park said the damage in Wimbledon Park was “unavoidable” after heavy rainfall and has warned it could take some time before it is fully repaired.

The festival took place over three days from Friday, 16 May with tickets sold for around £50 a day.

Local dad Johnny Tyson walks through the park twice a day when he takes his son to nursery. He wants Merton Council to remember that the park is for the use of the public, not just for private events.

He said, “It feels like it is used purely as an asset to generate money for the council rather than a public asset. Last year the damage was not so bad from Pub in the Park but when it is damp and you’re having big articulated trucks it just churns up the earth.

“It is for the public, whether it is elderly people, people walking their dogs or playing football with their kids. If it becomes less usable it has a knock on effect.”

Restoring the park is the responsibility of the organisers of Pub in the Park.

A spokesperson for the company said, “After a successful Pub in the Park weekend, the organisers are working closely with Merton Council to make sure any damage to the ground is repaired as soon as possible. Unfortunately, damage was unavoidable due to the heavy rainfall during the build of the event, however remedial works in the form of rolling, aeration, and re-seeding, will take place as soon as possible.

“This will take some time to commence as these remedial works cannot begin until the ground is fully dry. In the meantime, we have implemented corrective measures to ensure the ground is level, safe, and to ensure the full area of the park is available for public use when we vacate the site, and prior to further works commencing.”

A Merton Council spokesperson added, “Following the Pub in the Park event last weekend, we are working with the organisers to restore part of Wimbledon Park to its natural state. The ground will be levelled, fresh soil will be added where needed and the areas re-seeded as soon as possible, however, the start of this work has been delayed, due to wet ground conditions. This work will be fully funded by the event organiser.”

Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter