7:20am Tuesday 21st February 2012
By Alexandra Rucki
The Friends of Clapham Common (FCC) have apologised to the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community for initially opposing a gay festival.
An argument arose when park group members commented in a Lambeth Council report the Pride House event would attract "undesirable elements of that community."
Their comments provoked outrage from the LGBT community, with author John Amaechi branding the group as bigoted and outdated in their views.
Lambeth Councillor Christopher Wellbelove said the comments were offensive, whilst Wandsworth LGBT forum criticised their phrasing.
But a meeting between FCC chairman Melanie Oxley and Coun Wellbelove has calmed the storm, and the park group have agreed to get involved with Pride House.
Coun Wellbelove and the FCC have said they will jointly back Pride House, whilst preserving the common for current and future generations.
A statement issued on behalf of FCC said: "They have agreed to work together to increase involvement by individuals from the LGBT and other minority groups in the local area, to help strengthen the great work done by the FCC in enhancing Clapham Common for the benefit of all in the community."
Pride House organisers plan to create a venue on the common which will promote the LGBT community during the Olympic games to create awareness of homophobia in sport while promoting equality and acceptance.
They intend to hold a programme of live music, films and other events at the venue.
Stephen Fry, John Amaechi and rugby player Ben Cohen have all been announced as Pride House ambassadors.
The event is still awaiting full approval from the Lambeth Council.
Park group members have also said if it goes ahead they will ensure the event is a success in spirit of the Olympics and will ensure the common is restored afterwards.
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