The FIA Formula E Championship event in London is presumably being held at Battersea Park in 2015 for a first year of a five year agreement. ‘In principle’ approval has been given to stage the event, although the proposal is still subject to the views of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and planning. This has been revealed in this report by the Director of Housing and Community Services.
Several committees will evaluate Formula E’s proposal late October / early November this year to include an update on legal and commercial negotiations and the results of a planning pre-application. At that point a recommendation will be made as to whether to proceed with the event, subject to planning permission and FIA approval.
A detailed commercial agreement with Formula E Holdings is yet to be signed, ensuring compliance with the legal framework relevant to the proposed use of Battersea Park.
According to a meeting with HLF held in July, it expressed concerns about the potential damage to the heritage infrastructure of the Park, but acknowledged that there is not enough funding to maintain the parks to the high standards expected by the public. HLF have been encouraging councils to identify new and innovative ways of attracting funding to improve and maintain parks and open spaces. Staging a Formula E event would fit in this picture.
The document also describes that the potential for income generation is ‘considerable’. There is potential for a two-day event (probably to stage a second race to replace the tenth venue on the calendar) and thereby increasing income substantially. Meanwhile four tenders were received to support legal and commercial costs.
However subject to confirmation, the event is expected to attract an audience in the Park of 30,000, with the potential for an additional 10,000 ‘ground’ tickets. The track would be FIA classified as Grade 2.
Two assessments have been carried out as to the noise created by the cars and the suitability of the proposed Battersea Park circuit. On 14th of August, a Formula E car was tested at 5 a.m. No disturbance was created and no complaints were received. The track seemed suitable according to the driver. In addition, relevant councillors and representatives of the Friends of Battersea Park were invited to the final pre-season test at Donington Park.
Perhaps we’ll know by the end of October if Battersea Park is a go, or not.