Fears raised over "Glastonbury" royal camp

Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:27pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Plans to set up a camping site on one of London's biggest commons for visitors to next month's royal wedding have been greeted with horror by local residents, who fear it will resemble the Glastonbury music festival.

"Camp Royale" is to be set up on Clapham Common in south London, offering what organizers says will be a cheap alternative for those who want to be in the British capital for celebrations to mark the marriage on April 29.

The "Big Royal Wedding Sleepover," as it calls itself, will be open from April 28 until May 1 at a cost of 75 pounds ($120) for three nights.

Organizers say the campsite will boast hot showers 24 hours a day, clean toilets, and round the clock security teams, and in typically British style, free cups of tea.

But with big screens and capacity for 10,000 people on a common mostly surrounded by housing, not everyone is impressed, and local residents have urged their Member of Parliament (MP) to intervene.

"I was delighted when I heard the happy news about Prince William's engagement to Kate Middleton and will be celebrating their wedding day as will many of my constituents, but I have deep reservations about this event...," the MP, Chuka Umunna, said of the campsite.

"It is quite unprecedented for something on this scale to take place over three days on our Common, with people camping on it for the duration," he added in a statement.

"We do not want to see Clapham Common turned into a Glastonbury style venue -- albeit slightly posher -- with all that would involve and the inevitable disruption to the daily lives of my constituents."

Glastonbury, a major music festival held on a dairy farm in southwest England most years, is as famous for the giant mudbaths the rain can create as it is for the performances.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison)

<p>A couple kisses at dawn in a field of litter at the Glastonbury Festival 2008 in Somerset in southwest England June 29, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>