Hackney Council has called for residents to take greater care of London Fields park. The recent heatwave and an increased number of people using the park has resulted in a spate of disruptive incidents including barbecues scorching patches of grass, late-night parties disturbing residents and the illegal selling of food to visitors.
Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Councillor Jonathan McShane, said: “London Fields is one of Hackney’s most popular parks and the great weather this summer has seen thousands enjoying the barbecue area. While we really don’t want to stop people enjoying themselves some people need to treat it with a bit more respect”.
In 2011, people who used the park told the council they supported having a barbecue area in London Fields, but it seems that now, some people are abusing the privilege by using sound systems and having late night parties. McShane continued: “We may have no other choice but to remove the barbecue area. So please, can everyone using this area think twice about what they are doing.”
Victoria Russell, 27, who lives locally said: “In general, people do take care of the park, in my case I have picnics and always tidy up after myself, so apart from burnt grass squares, people do take care of the park”.
Barbecues are not permitted outside the designated area at the south-west entrance nearest to Broadway Market. Guidelines can be found online at www.hackney.gov.uk/londonfields as well as on banners and posters in the park.
London Fields park keepers are urging those who enjoy a barbecue to use a stand or extinguish their barbecue thoroughly.
Antonio Liumbruno, 44, lives in Lewisham and frequently uses the barbecue area with colleagues. “We like having barbecues, but not with those grills you buy at the supermarket. We always bring along a sanitizer, boxes and bags to keep things clean. I try to care for the park as if it were my own garden”.
A few metres from Liumbruno’s group, another gathering were having a barbecue. Mathew Cullinae, 50, works at Borough Market and brought catering containers with fresh salads and dressings. “We keep things very clean, and when we leave I bring my van and take everything away with me, leaving the spot tidy and respecting the rules of the park. Obviously I cook here but I use a stand and I would never burn the grass”.
The council regularly carries out enforcement days, where local authorities join together with the police to clamp down on anti-social behaviour in the area. Further enforcement days are planned in the following weeks.