Secret Cinema’s summer plans have come under fire from residents who want full use of their green space over the summer.

Appreciating there’s been a lot of ire fired at Secret Cinema over the past year or so, this piece isn’t a criticism of it what it seeks to put on. We’re fully aware that lots of people have got pleasure from Secret Cinema events, just as we’re aware there’s been pushback over some of them too. We’ve tried to keep out of that. You like what you like.

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Still, it’s hard to stand on the sidelines of this one.

Its latest venture will be seeing it head to Walthamstow over the summer – subject to things being safe enough in the current climate – yet in doing so, it’s going to be using up a chunk of a public playing field for the staging of one of its events.

Waltham Forest Council has granted Secret Cinema permission to hold a daily outdoor screening six days a week from Thursday 6th July through to Sunday 12th September. The screenings take place in the evening, and Dirty Dancing is expected to be the film of choice (the Secret Cinema website certainly suggests so).

As per the norm with Secret Cinema, visitors will be expected to be dressed as characters from the film, and the hullabaloo around the film is as important as the movie itself. Beverages will be on sale, not all of them soft. Evens will go on into the evening.

The event it’s staging will seemingly be situated at the Low Hall Sports Ground in Walthamstow, and residents – as per a report at the Waltham Forest Echo – “are angry about losing a large chunk of their nearest green space for most of the summer”. 138 people objected to Secret Cinema’s application to use the space for the duration of the school summer holidays and change, but the Council approved it nonetheless.

Secret Cinema plans to use half of the available site for its event, yet even if every patron queued orderly in single file, it’s hard to see the other half remaining fully in tact. There’s a genuine fear that for the duration of the summer holiday, a large exercise and activity space for local residents will be dramatically minimised at best, next to unusable at worst. Furthermore, even if half of the space is available for children to play, an influx of visitors to the area is likely to raise safety concerns.

A fuller report can be found here, that goes into a lot more detail about the worries of local people. Hopefully, there’s a better solution that can be arrived at before the summer.

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