Hackney mayor: Some businesses encouraging park drinking has added to anti-social behaviour spike

Hackney mayor Philip Glanville on the live Q&A. Picture: Hackney Gazette Facebook

Hackney mayor Philip Glanville on the live Q&A. Picture: Hackney Gazette Facebook - Credit: Archant

“Confusing” governmental lockdown advice has led to some businesses in Hackney encouraging street drinking, which has exacerbated a spike in anti-social behaviour.

That was a message from Hackney mayor Philip Glanville in a live Q&A Zoom call with residents, which was hosted on June 5 by this newspaper but is still available to watch on Facebook.

He also addressed Brexit, cycling, homelessness and the council’s contractor’s employment terms, among other topics.

Kevin Flemen, secretary of the London Fields User Group, asked about anti-social behaviour in the park, which he said is turning into “an open-air drinking venue ringed by public urine and defecation”.

He said: “Hackney Council must share some responsibility though, as it has granted so many premises licences for sales of alcohol, and that has been an ongoing thing for quite a long time.”

There were 72 fines issued for urination and littering in London Fields over just May 30 and 31.

Cllr Glanville said some venues, in a bid to stay profitable, have encouraged takeaway drinks to be consumed in the street or parks rather than at home.

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“Some business owners were really responsible from the start with closed containers, encouraging a takeaway offer that was directed towards taking that takeaway home,” Cllr Glanville said.

“Others through that period were doing open sales and encouraging it to be consumed either walking about or in the local park, I think we did quite a lot to communicate with those local businesses.”

However, Cllr Glanville said although lockdown lifting and good weather has seen the problem increase, he was wary of over-regulating - “banning fun” - and said there is no “easy answer”.

He added: “My main problem is you have a business sector that is desperate to get back on its feet, a government that wants to get the country unlocked as quickly as possible and no understanding of what it is to live in a dense environment around those two pressures.”

A Home Office spokesperson said it is committed to tackling crime and directed local authorities to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: “These powers and tools continue to be applicable, during the pandemic.”