Has the world really gone mad?
I’ve been planning my daugther’s 6th birthday celebrations for weeks, if not months. It was to be Woodland Fairies Picnic, simply because I don’t want it to be a bunch of sugar-filled kids locked in a room going wild on a bouncy castle. I want them to create lasting memories that will make them want to go out into the woods and discover the beauty of nature. I wanted a fun picnic, where we play outside, enjoy the woods and create some mystique. A perfect celebration for Angelina hitting this next milestone- becoming 6 years old- in a place she absolutely loves exploring.
I have scouted out the local country park and found the ideal clearing. I asked my council weeks ago, before sending out the invites, whether I could put up a tent for the day, just in case the weather turned on us we could escape for a little bit to eat some cake. I wanted us to be outdoors whatever the weather. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the name of the person I talked to; I just took his word, that that should be fine and carried on planning.
Then end of last week- 10 days before the party- I thought I’d get the permission in writing in case someone else using the park questions us having a tent. I wanted to do things right. This is when all hell broke loose:
My question about being allowed to put up a tent was blown totally out of proportion!
“We have another large scale running event taking place on the same date. Unfortunately, due to the late notice we won’t be able to accommodate your request as would require for two organisers to liaise with one another with regards to risk assessments.
Please note for future requests to use [Country Park] or any other City Council space, we ideally require a minimum 6 weeks’ notice so that we can consult with the relevant stakeholders on your behalf.
Again, please note that Country Park is a SSSI venue (site of specific scientific interest). Therefore, as a SSSI site, you cannot use any infrastructure that will involve marking the ground or put any items into the ground e.g. using a gazebo with pegs. For further information on SSSI’s please visit: [link to naturalengland]”
So let me get it straight:
I cannot have a picnic with friends in the park without giving the council 6 weeks’ notice?
I as a member of the public I have to do a formal risk assessment and take out public liability insurance?
Yesterday I got in touch with the organiser of the large scale running event- a charity. They were absolutely lovely! We discussed their routing and timings. And was indeed it was going through where I was planning to go for our picnic. That would’ve taken away from the mystique I want to create and would’ve scared the children away. We will start an hour later. Simples!
On the other hand the council are sticking to their side, thus far, about wanting risk assessment and even payment. I hope to hear more from them today. To be honest nothing less than a huge apology will do!
Is it just me or has this world gone absolutely bonkers?
I got a reply and thankfully we can go ahead:
An event is classified as: ‘any pre-planned or organised activity designed and promoted to attract a gathering of people:consumers, participants and / or spectators’’.
All these requirements are in-place to protect you as an “event organiser” and are recognised as standard best practise guidance throughout the events industry.
If you wish to hold your birthday party at Shotover that will be fine but please note that you do have the Local Authority / Landowner’s permission and you will be arranging this at your own personal risk. Please also ensure that you remove all waste / litter from your event and do not use the existing public bins.
Thank you! We have one happy little girl now and one relieved mummy!