Park gates row revived over late night noise

Criticism of parks authority of lack of plan to deal with disruption

Friday, 1st July — By Harry Taylor


Primrose Hill

THE Royal Parks has threatened to gate off Primrose Hill again after it said it has received more reports of noise and anti-social behaviour.

The park had barriers at night for months last year after loud gatherings on top of the hill during the third Covid lockdown. They were removed in December after pubs and clubs had reopened and crowds had dissipated.

But in recent weeks some who live near the hill have reported loud music and fireworks and fear a return to busy nights when disruption reached its peak.

And others who have campaigned for the park to stay open around the clock say that fears are being exaggerated and the level of people on top of Primrose Hill at night is the same it was before Covid.

The Royal Parks said: “If the issue escalates and we start to see persistent anti-social behaviour once again, we will consider temporarily closing the park on weekend evenings as we did last year. This would include installing temporary fencing at the park gates, which would require police support.”

Amy McKeown, one of the founders of the Primrose Hill Keepers group said: “I have been up several times at night to the park, including on the solstice, and there tends to just be small groups with people playing music on their phones

“I’ve seen the reports of fireworks, but this is something that has always happened. Even if you put gates up, people can still get in. A closed park still needs policing. The idea of just gating the park won’t solve any issues that they think they have.”

But Lucy Cottrell said many, like her, who live on the outskirts of the park fear a revival in disruption.

She said: “We wrote to the Royal Parks in January, saying they need to have a plan A and plan B in place to monitor and manage the park at night. While parks police are making a real effort, they don’t work at night, meaning ‘monitoring’ actually means residents going up at midnight or later with an overcoat over their pyjamas to take records and then hanging on the phone to 101.”

New Primrose Hill councillor Anna Burrage, elected in May, said there needs to be more engagement with neighbours.

“I’m astonished at the Royal Parks’ lack of responsiveness. They are aware of the recurrent problems,” she said.

“Many attempts have been made by many parties to engage them over the past few months to elicit some sort of plan for dealing with large numbers of visitors over the summer months, at all times of day or night and, to my knowledge, nothing has been forthcoming.”

She added: “Of course, gates would only potentially solve a problem at night.”

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