Council bans alcohol at London Fields due to “unacceptable scenes”
- Credit: Polly Richards
Alcohol is now temporarily banned in London Fields Park following weeks of “unacceptably” high levels of litter, public urination and disturbance to residents living nearby.
The council’s application for an injunction has been granted and the ban will be in place from July 4 for a temporary period.
It will be enforced by police and council enforcement officers.
Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, said: “London Fields is not a festival site. We’ve heard so many stories from local people - many with no outside space of their own - who feel excluded from the park and whose lives are being made a misery because of littering, urinating, defecating and drunken behaviour.
“We have already put extensive measures in place to try to tackle the issues but we are being left with no option but to ban alcohol while we consider how to manage the situation in London Fields in the long-term.”
The council plans to engage with local people and business about issues with park-goers and consider longer-term options to ensure London Fields is safe and “remains an inclusive space for all park users”.
It has received a “significant number of complaints” from local residents describing the weekly disruption to their lives.
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London Fields residents said scenes at the park over the last few weeks have been “absolutely disgusting,” and many told the council they felt scared to spend time there.
One resident said, “It looked like a festival scene, people being drunk from early afternoon on, plastic and garbage everywhere, masses of people. I have never seen London Fields that busy, not even pre-lockdown.”
As of June 25, the council had issued 193 fines at London Fields for urinating, defecating and littering in May and June alone, compared to just nine in the previous 12 months. 101 of the 193 fines were issued to people who do not live in the borough.
The injunction prohibits park users from consuming alcohol, damaging wildlife, possessing, consuming or selling nitrous oxide, playing amplified music, lighting fires or barbecues and leaving litter.
Police have the power to arrest anyone who breaches its conditions.
Measures put in place by the council to manage issues at the park include installing commercial waste bins, opening toilets, issuing fines.
Twelve enforcement officers have also been recruited to support parks staff in their work to keep the park safe and clean and additional security guards are helping to manage issues in London FIelds in the meantime.
Measures introduced by the council have cost it about £150,000.
“It’s incredibly frustrating that this is costing the council so much to manage, when this money could be better spent on our other parks or vital support for local residents, like food distribution to vulnerable people or services for young people,” said the Mayor.