HAC Bow: events, disruption, updates
This is an ongoing situation and this blog post is being updated regularly as I obtain more information. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Concerns were first raised to me regarding events being held at the HAC venue on Morgan Street after the tragic death of a teenager in September 2022. Concerns included:
- excessive noise and no sound proofing
- late night events inappropriate for the area
- lack of supervision after events to ensure that attendees were quiet and left quickly
- ASB, littering and drug-taking during and after events finished
Following reports of these concerns, the HAC held several discussions with the community, council representatives and councillors to provide reassurance. At the time, some measures were agreed on to reduce disruption to the neighbourhood:
- events to finish at 10pm with guests allowed to clear up until 11pm
- greater care to be taken when taking bookings to ensure responsible hirers
- no standing events
- no events with alcohol
- family-oriented events
Disappointingly, these agreed measures have not been followed by the HAC which have resulted in considerable upset in the neighbourhood following a weekend of events in early May.
I have been liaising with residents and the council’s teams to gather information and advice regarding this case. I am also keen to work together with the HAC to come to agreements about the use of the venue that does not disrupt the community. To this end, I am in dialogue with the Church leadership to discuss solutions.
If the Church leadership are unable or unwilling to stick to the measures agreed previously to reduce disruption, there is a possibility to pursue the issue through licensing legislation. Because the Church is not a permanent venue, it does not need a premises license as a pub or bar would. Instead, it must apply for Temporary Event Notices (TEN) for individual events which apply to certain licensable activities. These activities include sale of alcohol, playing recorded music and boxing events, among others.
Temporary Event Notices
TENs are granted by the council and may only be objected to by the Noise team or the Police. These bodies will only make an objection if they are satisfied that they have gathered enough evidence of disruption. Currently, the Council’s Noise team does not feel that they have enough evidence to make an objection.
Additional detail on the process for approving TENs and government guidance on these can be viewed here: Revised guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 (December 2022) (accessible) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
If an objection is made to a TEN, the decision whether to approve or reject the notice is made by the Licencing Committee made up of Councillors. Members of the public or Councillors not on the committee are unable to make representations at the Licensing Committee meetings where the decision is made.
When approving or objecting to a TEN, it is not possible to apply any conditions such as a closing time, to the TEN in question.
There is a commercial aspect that the Environmental Health team must consider when deciding whether to object to a TEN. This is because there is a risk that the applicant appeals the objection in relation to their costs, in which case the justification for objecting to the TEN must be clearly evidenced.
Statutory Noise Disturbance
Statutory Noise Disturbance is an additional type of action which the Noise team can bring against disruptive venues. This is separate from the licensing process. The team explained: “if a statutory noise nuisance is determined Officers issue a notice requiring the nuisance to be abated. If the nuisance then reoccurs the notice is then enforced through a prosecution.”
Report, report, report
The involvement of the Council’s Noise team and the Police is vital to impress on the venue how serious the disruption is for locals. These agencies will not act unless they have sufficient evidence – gathered by themselves – of the concerns raised.
For these two agencies to make their own assessments, they rely on reports from local residents to let them know when issues are happening so they can attend and make observations. I would like to urge all of you to report when you observe problems occurring at the HAC. Please also let me know so that I can take appropriate action.
Reporting advice is as follows:
Call: 020 7364 5000.
The service hours are:
- 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
- Out of Hours Noise Response Service on Thursday to Sunday (evenings only) from 8pm to 3.30am.
Notes: please call the team when the disturbance is happening and allow officers into your home so they can make an assessment from inside your property. If they are not allowed inside, they will not be able to assess whether the noise amounts to a Statutory Noise Disturbance.
Call: 101 or 999 in an emergency
Service hours are 24/7
Notes: If there is a danger to life, please call 999 immediately. If there does not appear to be any danger, please make a non-emergency 101 report. These non-emergency reports are processed centrally by the MET police, will build up a useful picture of the pattern of the issues and will enable the police to attend the scene when problems are likely to be happening. Unfortunately, due to capacity issues, the police cannot promise a response service to non-emergency reports. These reports are also seen by the council’s ASB team and THEOs which will also help with enforcement.
Please report via: https://forms.towerhamlets.gov.uk/service/report_anti_social_behaviour alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
The information gathered by the ASB team will be used to prioritise enforcement resources from the police and THEOs.
I have instructed the street cleaning team to give the area extra attention during and just after weekends to quickly clear up litter and detritus.
The parking enforcement team is unfortunately not able to provide a responsive service. Nonetheless, I have informed the team of the dates of the known events at the venue (according to TENs) and they have agreed a proactive patrol service on these dates.