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Plans for 200-person music festival on old canal boat in Hackney Wick rejected again

Tower Hamlets council has once again rejected proposed plans for Boat Live, a 200-person festival on a canal boat in Hackney Wick, over concerns for public safety and noise complaints

A music festival organiser who planned to host a 200-person party on an old canal boat this weekend has been rejected by the council again.

Boat Live had applied for a temporary event notice so it could host two music events with DJs in Hackney Wick on Saturday, July 1 and Sunday, July 2 that would have been from 2pm to 11.59pm on both days.

Rhys Rose of Boat Live had described the project in council documents as a small mobile event space that is built inside an old canal boat and primarily is used to showcase music from the “vibrant East London electronic scene” and said it was “soundproofed and managed well” at its previous address.

The temporary events notice would allow for Boat Live to test the site in Hackney Wick with the sale of booze and DJ performances for events use ahead of a premises licence application that has been submitted, Mr Rose said in documents.

However during a meeting with Tower Hamlets council’s licensing sub-committee on Tuesday (June 27), the Met and environmental health spoke out against the plans having cited noise nuisance and public safety as a major concern.

PC Mark Perry of the Met’s Central East Licensing Unit told the room: “I think this is the third or fourth time that the applicant has put a [temporary event notice] in and sadly the same sort of issues and concerns that we have, haven’t really been addressed by the applicant.

“The primary one we have is that the site is next to or very close to residential properties… there is a large residential [area] literally five or six metres away and we’ve already had emails from residents there who are concerned about this premises opening up.”

Boat Live had previously operated a few doors down which according to PC Perry had also attracted noise complaints from residents.

He said: “Indeed when I visited the site last year, the noise was so loud I could literally hear the venue before I could see it.”

PC Perry shut down the boat’s 200-person capacity, and said: “There is no way that the boat can safely absorb more than 40 to 50 people inside, even if it did the temperature inside the boat would be so high because there is poor ventilation [and there would be] significant leakage if the event went ahead which would cause noise nuisance.”

After visiting the site on Friday [June 23] to take some pictures, PC Perry argued the site was still unsafe.

Nicola Cadzow of environmental health said the boat would be unable to hold all 200 people at once as it wasn’t strong enough.

She said: “The boat is not sturdy enough, so there’s a public safety concern about that many people actually being on a boat. It doesn’t look like it would hold that many people anyway.” 

Mr Rose said he had gained a reasonable level of experience over the last 20 years having spent thousands of hours running events at all levels and that he took the duty of care for his customers very seriously.

He added: “I take my duty of care to my customers very seriously, I believe that I’m a very good licensing and [designated premises supervisor] and do not want to go ahead with this if it is going to tarnish my reputation or ability to do something.

“If we were not ready I would still cancel it this weekend however I am confident that this weekend, it will be ready to go ahead.”

After a lengthy discussion with Mr Rose, PC Perry and Ms Cadzow, the licensing sub-committee went to deliberate in private.

The sub-committee ultimately decided that the prevention of crime and disorder, the prevention of public nuisance, and public safety would be undermined if it were to grant the temporary events notice and issued a counter-notice, which means the events are not allowed to happen this weekend.

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