If you live Between the Commons you’ve probably been struggling to sleep of late. Abject terror at the paws of urban foxes. The heinous theft of BMW tyres. The perennial fear that your darling child will get into a state school that, whilst being classed as outstanding by Ofsted, is second place in the Nappy Valley league tables.
You can rest easy, however. Wandsworth Council are fighting tirelessly to keep you safe from baby-chomping urban foxes with a front page missive on avoiding the perils of creatures no bigger than a cat. But they’ve secured a victory that deserves more praise than I can bestow alone. Perhaps I should throw one of the street parties they’ve spent so much money attempting to convince us to hold.
Wandsworth Council have saved you, and those you hold dear, from a fate worse than urban foxes. You have been rescued from the horror of water pistols. A planned mass water fight in Battersea was deemed to pose so serious a breach of the peace that Wandsworth Council issued threats via the national and local media, their own website and on the Facebook group organising the event. Attendees were informed they faced a £200 fine and would be met by the park police service, the metropolitan Police and their friendly dogs. When nothing surmised, the council praised themselves for their “no-nonsense”, “zero-tolerance” approach, and stated that they would be monitoring social networking sites for organised events in Wandsworth over the summer months.
It’s unclear which events they will intervene in, and what they are attempting to prevent. Nearby Clapham Common hosts far larger festivals (the recent Ben & Jerry’s Weekender, for example) with great regularity. The Brighton to London Cycle Ride had its staggered starting points in Wandsworth. There are often large events in Wandsworth, because there are ample open spaces, and its both far enough away from the centre to avoid overcrowding, but close enough to Chelsea to stop people enquiring whether they need to bring a passport. I’d rather have people travelling to Wandsworth and enjoying the open spaces than Wandsworth Council expending energy, and money, on heavily policing a water fight. Battersea Park’s next to Battersea Power Station: it’s a gorgeous building, and one in dire need of public recognition to save it from dereliction. Surely park police could keep a casual eye on large groups to ensure situations don’t escalate, rather than asking to search people on the way into the park? And the number of people who turned up to Battersea Park with a water pistol in the end? Zero. That’s not a triumph, that’s a waste of energy, Wandsworth BC.