Residents say alcohol is making Broadway Market a 'nightmare'

Residents living near Broadway Market continue to raise concerns about drinking in the area.

Residents living near Broadway Market continue to raise concerns about drinking in the area as shop turned cafe applies to serve alcohol from 9am to 11pm. - Credit: LDR Julia Gregory

Residents have described how alcohol is making their life a “nightmare” at the popular Broadway Market, which has become a destination for eating and drinking.

The street saw a revival in the early noughties and became a popular spot for foodies and people keen to shop at boutique stores.

However, residents say they are suffering from antisocial behaviour.

“I am having to move drunks off my step to get into my house, this happens on a very regular basis,” said one, who asked not to be named, at Hackney Council’s licensing sub-committee, which was considering a variation licence application.

The owners of the Broadway Supersaver want to serve alcohol from 9am to 11pm if they transform the shop into a café.

But the resident said the antisocial behaviour on the street is making residents’ life a misery.

Every week she has to “throw bleach” over her steps to clear up.

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She added: “It’s been a nightmare and it’s getting worse.”

Other residents said the lockdowns had exacerbated the problem, especially when drinking was banned in London Fields park last summer via a Public Space Protection Order introduced in 2017 (PSPO). 

That PSPO expired after three years, so the council launched a consultation in May in relation to alcohol use in the borough generally, and on London Fields specifically. 

The consultation is a legal requirement before the council can introduce a PSPO to regulate activity - such as alcohol use - on the park.

Meanwhile, the supermarket at 51 Broadway Market has applied to serve alcohol at a café and tapas bar in a bid to recover from the costs of lockdowns over the last year.

The company said it would put in sound-proofing and, like the residents, did not want to see crime and antisocial behaviour on the street.

“Over Covid, the antisocial behaviour on Broadway Market has worsened, and the noise levels have escalated,” said Dora, who lives there and did not share her last name. 

She explained: “Over lockdown people congregated at Broadway Market because there’s a park at the end of it they could take their drinks to.

“An additional place serving alcohol is not going to help.”

"People talk louder when they drink", she said.

“I  am increasingly distressed by noise, l regularly have people urinating on our front gate.”

Satnam Singh is concerned about noise as well as antisocial incidents in the street.

He said: “There is already a sound issue, I can pretty much hear everything – every pin drop, every conversation.”

He added: “The medical centre is next door, their examination room is right next to the shop. There have been complaints they can hear pretty much everything that takes place.”

He said he was worried about “the whole ethos of cumulative premises opening on Broadway Market for longer and longer”, with 17 businesses already offering alcohol.

Beggars also congregate in the street, he said.

The applicants said this  “affects our business negatively”. They said they want to contribute to the drop in crime in the area and planned to serve tea and coffee, and would “not be alcohol-led”.

They pointed out that many other venues in the street already serve alcohol, and that with 40 supermarkets in a one-mile radius, it was “not viable” to simply run a similar shop.

“Turning the supermarket into a cafe is the only viable way,” said owner Hasan Aybakar. “Everyone’s business is going down at this moment.”

He has also run a fried chicken shop on the street without any problems and has more than 15 years’ experience.

“We find it quite ridiculous that objectors are blaming our premises for antisocial behaviour in the area,” said his agent at Eurosafety International.

The agent explained that the outside area would shut at 10pm, with numbers limited to 12 people.

They added: “There has been a gradual decrease in crime over the past year  and we want to contribute to that.”

Aybakar said during a recent stabbing incident that his business suffered as people came into his shop and broke bottles of wine.

The licensing committee was told: “They marched into our premises, they have no connection with the premises at all.”

The licensing sub-committee (10 August) will publish its decision within five working days.

To have your say on the consultation on alcohol use in the borough, visit hackney.gov.uk/alcohol-asb