Something this website has missed over the past couple of months is the upturn in fortunes for the Peninsula Festival – after being comprehensively refused licences in September, plans for concerts on a patch of land between the Pilot pub and the A102 were approved last December, proposals for a campsite have also been backed at the second attempt, while a licensing application for the beach at Delta Wharf comes up before councillors next week. (One interesting change to the beach plan is that that it becomes for invited guests only during the Olympics.)
All of this was due to be at no cost to local taxpayers. Indeed, those promises came right here on this site. In March 2011, I made a reference in a comment to Greenwich Council’s leisure cabinet member John Fahy being the man “in charge of funding the Peninsula Festival”. After all, the publicity for the event was emblazoned with council logos, something which was criticised at the original licensing hearing.
He quickly shot back: “Darryl being naughty again. Greenwich Council is not funding the Peninsula Festival. This is a private sector initiative which is warmly welcomed.”
Indeed, he reaffirmed this later for good measure: “I repeat,there is no funding from the Council to the Peninsula Festival.”
About six weeks later, I interviewed Peninsula Festival founder Frank Dekker, in a piece published in May. He told me: “The council have been very clear from the start – ‘we haven’t got money for this kind of thing’. We have accepted that, and said if you haven’t got money, help us in whichever way you can.”
Fast forward seven months, and things have changed somewhat. On Tuesday, a council scrutiny committee will examine the council’s decision to lavish funds on various cultural events during this Olympic year.
Among the events getting cash? The Peninsula Festival, to the tune of £50,000.
Who made that decision to fund the Peninsula Festival? None other than John “there is no funding from the Council to the Peninsula Festival” Fahy.
Was this the plan all along? Or has something new come up? One thing’s definite, though. When a senior Greenwich councillor calls you “naughty”, you know you’re on the right track.