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Hackney Wick Woodland raves: Mixed response to council plans to fine partygoers after years of complaints

PUBLISHED: 08:39 23 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:40 23 April 2019

A rave in Hackney Wick woodland organised by Keep On Going

A rave in Hackney Wick woodland organised by Keep On Going

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Anyone attending illegal all-night raves in Hackney Wick Woodland could soon be fined £100 for the pleasure, as the town hall looks to push through new enforcement powers.

But protesters say the proposed Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) will damage culture and stop them having fun.

Last year the council consulted on whether to impose a PSPO on the triangular wooded area bounded by Homerton Road, the A12 and the River Lea.

Neighbours have been plagued with sleepless nights since 2014 because of loud music from the raves, which are advertised on social media and attended by up to 100. In 2017 alone, the council – which has received “numerous complaints” – recorded 30 events.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) has included people defecating nearby, fly-tipping, fire damage and the uprooting of trees and plants, a report states.

The council's cabinet is now being asked to authorise the implementation of a three-year PSPO, which would give police and council officers the power to issue 48-hour dispersal notices or £100 on-the-spot fines to those organising and attending raves, and anyone caught selling or in possession of laughing gas. Failure to pay could result in prosecution.

Just 123 people responded to a consultation over the proposals, with 46pc in support and 43pc against. Opponents said a PSPO would prevent a “fun, sociable and cultural” use of the space. They also claimed people's experience of the raves have been “largely positive” and said there was no need to turn the volume down.

But the council said a prohibition on noise was “proportionate”, taking into account the amount of complaints they'd received.

“We recognise the importance of sociable and cultural use of space balanced against the need to ensure inclusive, respectful use of space that doesn't cause nuisance or harm,” said the report. “The events to which the current PSPO relates are unauthorised, potentially unsafe and have a significant impact where they are held as there are no ancillary facilities like toilets or waste services.”

Others called for tougher fines, to expand the PSPO to a wider area, and wanted reassurances it would be enforced by policing. The council has not ruled out expanding the area in future.

Attempts to dissuade revellers from holding parties there have so far failed, like installing logs and natural fencing to make the area difficult to access with machinery, applying for injunctions to prevent organisers from setting up raves, and issuing community protection warnings.

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