A POP festival on Blackheath has been cancelled this year following an ongoing legal dispute between promoters and a community group.

Organisers of the On Blackheath festival were forced to call off September’s two-day event after a court appeal by the Blackheath Society was adjourned last week.

Legal action followed Lewisham Council decision last October granting a licence to Nimby Events for a festival every year near the site of 2009’s climate camp.

Organiser Tom Wates, who still aims to hold a festival next year, questioned the society’s behaviour, claiming only a minority of its 900 members were against the event, and pointing out lawyer fees had cost him £50,000 already.

He said: ”It just upsets me. I wish that money was put into the library or something locally that would have some sort of legacy as opposed to a court case.

Mr Wates added: “I’m not against the Blackheath Society - what they do is really good for the area. On the other hand, I think they misjudged this.

“Rather than a knee jerk reaction I think we could have sat down and sorted this out between us.

“The barristers are the only ones that have won.”

But society chairman Howard Shields said its members had been in contact by email and the area had been leafleted.

He said: “We certainly haven’t misjudged the mood of our members. We’ve never had such a big response on one subject as we’ve had on this one.

Mr Shields said: “The closer you live to the thing, the more we believe people are sympathetic to our cause.

“It’s a huge precedent being created by this and it’s essential that whatever’s decided is the result of a clear policy and better scrutiny.”

A Lewisham Council spokeswoman said all the relevant requirements had been met by Nimby for licensing approval.

She said:“The council is currently consulting residents on the use of parks and open spaces which includes a policy to hold events.

"It is also working with the Blackheath Joint Working Party to draft a specific policy for events on Blackheath and will consult local residents in both Lewisham and Greenwich.

"Residents wishing to participate in the wider parks and open spaces consultation can access the survey via the Council's web site - go to www.lewisham.gov.uk and click on ‘active consultations’ and then ‘Lewisham Parks Survey’.

“We are unable to comment on the cost of the court case as it is still on-going.”