St Albans conducts huge write-in campaign to rescue Christmas Festival from NIMBYs

PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:58 04 December 2018

A small group of residents are attempting to prevent the Meraki Christmas Festival.

A small group of residents are attempting to prevent the Meraki Christmas Festival.

©famveldman -

St Albans people eagerly awaiting this year’s Meraki Christmas Festival have conducted a massive write-in campaign to support the event.

St Albans district council has received 79 letters of support for the festival since a change in venue was announced last week.

One reads: “[I am] excited by the prospect of the Meraki Christmas festival, [as I] enjoyed the summer festival which was very well-run and friendly.

“This could be just what St Albans needs as a destination for people to come and spend money.”

Another says: “We have three small children so we really wanted to be able to take them to a Christmas festival to visit Santa and go ice skating.

“Travelling into London with small children is very difficult with small children and we were really excited about the idea of this being at the park and somewhere we could easily walk to and visit after school.”

Festival organisers had to split the festival across the Herts County Showground between November 30 and December 6, Verulamium Park between December 8 and December 22, and the Vintry Garden between November 30 and December 22.

This was after a clique of residents living around Verulamium Park brought in lawyers to prevent the Festival from going ahead as planned.

One letter writer gave short shrift to the protestors: “ [I am] appalled to find out that due to a few complaints the council have made a decision not to have the festival in the planned location for the first week.”

The letters were included in the agenda for next Thursday’s meeting of St Albans district council’s planning referrals committee.

Officers have recommended granting conditional planning permission to holding the Vintry Garden event, and so far only around 50 letters objecting to the festival have been received.

Among them, one reads: “[The festival] will pose a threat to the wildlife in the area as well as diminish the quality of life for families and elderly who use the park for quiet recreation.”

Another says: “[The district council] should support a more traditional Christmas Market without a music tent and strict opening hours, which ceases at 8pm at the latest, to avoid disturbing children’s sleep.”

To see the application, visit

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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