Important news about the Rickmansworth Festival

2 January 2024

Representatives from the Rickmansworth Festival Team attended a meeting hosted by Three Rivers District Council just before Christmas regarding the recent implementation of an Asbestos Management Plan for the Aquadrome.

The plan has designated the Aquadrome as a no dig zone and so nothing can penetrate the ground on the site. This includes digging, raking, staking or any activity which could erode or expose anything below the ground surface. It would preclude the use of stakes for fixing marquees or gazebos, and any vehicle movements on the grassed areas of the site would also be a concern. Any hirer of the ground would also need to pay for appropriate monitoring before and after the event at a cost of between £5000 and £8000 per day for two days of monitoring (a total of £10 – £16k).

Whilst it is possible to fix structures in place with weights or large water barrels this is really suited for working on a hard site when lifting vehicles can be used and access is not compromised by soft ground. Our Festival site manager has confirmed that whilst anything is possible the costs and extra labour required would go up significantly if we considered this possible to do on the site.  There may also be other requirements such as ensuring all contractors were trained.

Therefore I am afraid Rickmansworth Waterways Trust has had no choice but to make the difficult decision to cancel the event for 2024 and no Festival will be possible with these requirements in place.

TRDC stated that they were happy for the Festival to go ahead as long as the conditions of the management plan could be met. However the reality is that the management plan makes it impossible for a non commercial, volunteer led Festival to proceed with an event that uses the Aquadrome.

This is a really sad day for our community and I feel for all the other charities, community organisations and small businesses that have lost an opportunity to promote themselves. Thank you for all your help over many years since our very first event in 1993 and for contributing towards a great event. It will be sadly missed.

David Montague

Chairman and Festival Director

Rickmansworth Waterways Trust 

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