Council seeks to ban people from drinking in the park after ‘excessive amounts of littering, urination and defecation'

Joe Gamp
·Contributor, Yahoo News UK
·3-min read
(Hackney Council)
Hackney Council is seeking a temporary injunction to prevent anti-social behaviour at London Fields. (Hackney Council)

A London council is seeking to ban drinking in one of its parks after weeks of "excessive levels of litter, public urination/defecation and disturbance to local people".

Hackney Council said it has been left with "no other option" but to take action through the courts to temporarily ban drinking alcohol in London Fields.

It said a temporary injunction is being sought after receiving a "significant number of complaints from local residents in recent weeks complaining of loud music, drunken behaviour, public urination and high amounts of littering”.

Residents say they feel "unwelcome" in the public space and that young people are disrupting their home lives.

(Hackney Council)
Hackney Council has already spent around £150,000 on managing behaviour at London Fields. (Hackney Council)

Recent weekends have seen thousands of people in the park, with DJs setting up sound systems, people urinating against trees in the park and in people’s gardens and outside their front doors.

As of 25 June, Hackney Council 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.

It also issued 13 antisocial behaviour warning notices in May, compared to just six in the previous 12 months.

101 of the 193 fines were issued to people who do not live in the borough, including 10 issued to people with SW postcodes, 9 with SE postcodes and others from Ilford, Bow, Poplar, Archway, and as far afield as Chelmsford, Bishop’s Stortford, Bexley and St Albans.

(Hackney Council)
Local residents have complained about excessive noise, drunken behaviour and littering at the green space. (Hackney Council)

The injunction, if successful, will prohibit people in London Fields from consuming alcohol, damaging wildlife, possessing, consuming or selling “laughing gas”, playing loud amplified music, lighting fires or barbecues. driving vehicles or using generators in the park, and leaving litter.

The ruling would also grant local police the power of arrest for breaches of the conditions.

It comes after the council spent around £150,000 on managing behaviour at London Fields, at a time when it is already under extreme financial pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.

Philip Glanville, the Mayor of Hackney, said: "London Fields is not a festival site - it’s a vital green space for everyone.

(Hackney Council)
Hackney Council issued 193 fines at London Fields for urinating, defecating and littering in May and June alone. (Hackney Council)

"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.

“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.

“We have already put extensive measures in place to try to tackle the issues but we are being left with no option but to apply for this temporary alcohol ban while we consider how to manage the situation in London Fields in the long-term.

"We appreciate that this will also impact people who have been respecting the park and its neighbours but we must ensure that everyone - young and old - can use it together."