The organisers of the annual Kings Heath Street Festival announced on 10 July 2017 that it is to move from York Road to the the Parade car park in front of the old Kingsway cinema. A statement issued by the organisers explained that the move is necessary because ‘all events that take place on council land must conform to a set of new anti-terror safety guidelines’.
These guidelines are reported to require:
- The installation of high impact vehicles or concrete barriers at all road entry access points
- Security fencing surrounding the entire activity space whilst still allowing right of way access to businesses/residents
- Bag searches at all entry points and controlled pedestrian access points.
The result, according to the statement, would be that ‘any activity on York Road would have to take place inside a ‘caged event space’ on the carriageway only. The pavements would have to remain outside of the security fencing to allow right of way to residents and business owners’. The statement went on to explain that the organisers had decided that this would be impractical.
There was a strong and sustained reaction against the plans on social media but the chair of the organising group, Kings Heath Business Improvement District (BID) board, said, ‘We understand that the decision to move the event has proved unpopular with some members of the public, however our number one priority is public safety’.
On 13 July 2017, the organisers issued a new statement. This said that the decision had been put on hold for 7 days ‘to allow plans for Kings Heath Street Festival to return its traditional home on York Road’. While some people on social media have taken this to mean that the Festival is definitely going to take place in York Road, the statement also says there is to be a ‘period of grace [to] re-address the possibility of a Festival on York Road’.
It appears, therefore, that the location has not yet been confirmed as York Road. A further announcement is expected soon.
UPDATED 3 August 2017. A statement issued by the organisers on 2 August announced that the 2017 Festival has been cancelled. The full statement can be read here.