Alexandra Park manager outlines how park protected as fireworks go off with a bang

It took careful planning and three days litter picking to ensure Alexandra Park was protected from the 40,000 visitors who visited its famous fireworks display this year.

40,000 people enjoyed this year's display. Picture: Alexandra Palace and Park
40,000 people enjoyed this year's display. Picture: Alexandra Palace and Park

The sold-out event, formerly run by Haringey Council, was dropped because of austerity cuts in 2010 before being re-started by the Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust in 2013 on a profit-making basis, alongside a beer festival and fairground.

The money raised goes back to the trust to help its work refurbishing and maintaining Alexandra Palace and Park. Event and event catering sales for the site as a whole was £5.87m in the 2014 accounts, with £209,000 generated by park events and leases. Park management and maintenance was £589,000, with the remainder funded by Haringey Council.

Park manager Mark Evison said: "To minimise the chance of damage to the park, I work closely with our event managers and production teams and use protective matting and lightweight vehicles. Where possible we ensure fence lines and infrastructure are located within easy reach of existing hard surfaces.

"As a team we plan the site layout in advance and try to anticipate any challenges each event might throw up. We also involve the Friends of the Park early in the planning stages."

Breakdown began immediately after the event finished on 1 November and the park was reopened to the public at 7am on 2 November with infrastructure removed by the 3rd. A total of 23 litter pickers worked until 4 November to clear up the area.

Any damaged areas are levelled off with soil added and re-seeded with an amenity rye grass mix, Evison said.

"For the BMX events a couple of years ago we had an ecologist come in beforehand and we closed off a portion of the park. Depending on the location of in the park we adapt our methods.  For the Red Bull Soapbox Race we closed off maybe a third."

The park, which has been maintained under an eight-year contract by John O’Conner since 2008,  hosts a range of revenue-raising activities including tree climbing sessions run on a profit share basis with The Great Big Tree Climbing Company and segway rallies and has nine tenants from playgroups to cafes and the garden centre.  

The park also has a pitch and putt course and a boating lake.

Evison added: "The size and scale of Alexandra Park – there are 79 hectares of varied landscape and topography - means that there are still places of tranquillity even when a large event is taking place."

Alexandra Park celebrated its 150th anniversary last year.

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