Victoria Park © Phil Verney

All Points East organisers to hold more events at Victoria Park despite residents’ concerns 

The company behind All Points East festival has had a new licence approved by Tower Hamlets Council, and will be hosting more events at Victoria Park despite concerns from residents.

AEG Presents Limited was granted a new premises licence with Tower Hamlets Council’s licensing sub-committee last week on Tuesday 13 February after its previous one had a time limit and ran out in December 2023.

Unlike the previous licence, AEG’s new licence isn’t time-limited, but it will still need to follow the council’s major events policy and comply with the rental agreement for the land, which is also owned by the council.

The new licensing application sought approval from the council so it could sell alcohol on site from 10 am to 10.15 pm (Sundays to Thursdays) and from 10 am to 10.45 pm (Fridays and Saturdays); as well as providing regulated entertainment as part of the festival from 10 am to 10.30 pm (Sundays to Thursdays) and from 10 am to 11 pm (Fridays and Saturdays).

All Points East festival has taken place at Victoria Park since its inception in 2018 and over the last three years has been held in the month of August.

Last month Tower Hamlets mayor, Lutfur Rahman and his cabinet entered a new deal with AEG which will see it take over areas of the park again between April and September for the next three years (2024, 2025, 2026).

AEG will host an extra weekend of major music events in either May or June of this year while it intends to add a fourth weekend to its 2025 and 2026 schedules after the council reviewed its major events policy at the end of last year.

During last week’s meeting, the licensing sub-committee heard concerns from Tony Joyce and Simon Cooper, two residents who had objected to the plans on the grounds of noise and traffic concerns.

Mr Joyce argued the park becomes a ‘building site’ in the two weeks leading up to the festival and said he was disturbed constantly because of trucks reversing in the day and generators ‘going all night’.

He added: ‘The day before the event begins we have sound checks for two hours that are really loud because they’re trying to get the levels of the noise [right].

‘This goes on for two hours, I put earplugs in because of that.’

Mr Joyce said during the festival, he can’t listen to the radio or watch television even with headphones in.

He said: ‘If I put my hands on the window, I can feel the window vibrating from the noise, that goes on all day from 11 am until 11 pm.’

Mr Cooper raised concerns about traffic and pedestrian routes to and from the festival.

Speaking remotely, Mr Cooper said: ‘[Cadogen Terrace] is closest to the main stage. My first concern is the area around here has changed rapidly in the last two to three years.

‘There are lots more houses being built and Hackney Wick Station on the Overground becoming a major almost Tube line route with trains running every two or three minutes.’

He added: ‘Any public transport route using underground trains will direct you to Hackney Wick Station as the fastest public transport route, not Mile End, which means Cadogan Gate will now get very busy, perhaps busier than it has ever been before.’

Simon Taylor, who was representing AEG, said the company was ‘very well known and very experienced’ having hosted All Points East in the same location for the last five years.

He said the number of complaints had reduced ‘year on year’ and were some 70 per cent lower in 2023 than previously.

Mr Taylor said: ‘Noise complaints have reduced from 133 to 35 and of those 35, two were on days when there were wind changes which affected some 26 – or caused some 26 complaints.

‘The crime figures are very low and in 2022, there were 26 crimes reported and seven arrests. In 2023, there were 16 crimes reported and 10 arrests.

He added: ‘There was only one complaint of anti-social behaviour in 2023, and complaints during building period were reduced to zero in 2023. There were three traffic and parking complaints in 2023.

Later on in the meeting, Mr Taylor said: ‘You have a very competent applicant and they have shown that between 2018 to 2023, they can deliver successful events and can mitigate the impact of those events.

‘These are proven robust conditions which control the planning and delivery of the event, all of the responsible authorities are satisfied with the application, and there are no objections [from them].’

On traffic management concerns, Mr Taylor said there was a ‘significant misunderstanding’ with AEG’s proposed traffic management plan.

He said: ‘There is no question that full consideration is taken, we have promised that we will submit both Mr Cooper’s and Mr Joyce’s names into the planning process for 2024 if this licence is granted.’

After the meeting, the licensing sub-committee retired in private so they could make their decision.

According to a decision that was published a few days later on the council’s website, the licence was approved.

Part of the decision read: ‘The sub-committee does, however, take the opportunity to remind the applicant that these events do unfortunately impact adversely on some people, such as Mr Joyce, and would exhort the applicant to engage with those residents in advance of the events and to offer such additional assistance as might be reasonable.’

For more local news, read Key workers face nine per cent rent increase by Peabody housing association

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