DAMAGE to Christchurch meadows left unrepaired following a beer festival in summer 2018 was ‘unacceptable’, a council boss has said. 

The ground on the meadows was left with cracks and ruts on following the May 2018 Reading Beer Festival for over a year. 

This is despite the organisers of the festival, the Campaign for Real Ale, paying Reading Borough Council £960 in November to fund the repairs. 

The repair work was still not done before this year’s beer festival in May. So Jason Collie, a local resident, complained to the council in June.

Responding to the complaint, Giorgio Framalicco, the assistant director of planning, transport and regulatory services, apologised.

Mr Framalicco said: “I agree fully with Mr Collie that the failure to repair the land for an entire year is unacceptable and needs to be improved.

“It is equally unacceptable that the land is not quickly reviewed and assessed for damage and a plan of action put in place to restore the land in a timely manner.” 

After events are held on public parks, like Christchurch meadows, the council is supposed to agree a cost with the organiser to fund the repairs, and then carry out those repairs. 

Mr Framalicco said within two months the council should complete a full review of how council land is hired out and how damage to parks can be repaired more quickly. 

He said: “May I offer my apologies that these works were not completed in a timely manner; while it needs to be accepted that weather and ground conditions will impact on the time it takes to complete works, as was the case here, this does not explain entirely the failure to act.”

Mr Collie said: “Hopefully, this is finally a significant step forward, but it is just so frustrating that it has taken 15 months of pressure for the council to finally admit it has been failing the public.

“This has never been about stopping events being held—things like the beer festival are great occasions for the town. It’s been about whether a three-day event should be left in a damaged and potentially dangerous state for the next 440 days.

“It really shouldn’t take a resident nagging for 14 months for the council to hold its hands up and take action. This report is a stinging rebuke for the inaction by the council, and importantly, the councillors who should have been overseeing this.”