Throughout the pandemic, London’s parks have become a haven for many, offering an escape from tiny living rooms as well as being basically the only place they could have a social life for huge stretches of time. But the park temporarily replacing the pub has brought about new issues. Namely: more drunk people doing antisocial things.
In summer 2020 Hackney Council temporarily banned drinking in London Fields. It meant that people were prohibited from drinking alcohol, damaging wildlife, possessing, consuming or selling laughing gas or nitrous oxide, playing loud music, having barbecues, using generators and leaving litter in the park.
In a statement on its website, the council said it was because of ‘weeks of unacceptably high levels of litter, public urination/defecation and disturbance to local people’. Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville added: ‘London Fields is not a festival site – it’s a vital green space for everyone.’
The rule has been relaxed throughout 2021, but a new booze ban could be about to be put in place. Hackney Gazette is reporting that local residents are being consulted about plans to tackle antisocial drinking in public places across Hackney. One of the ideas? A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for London Fields.
The order would remain in place for three years and would allow enforcement officers to stop people drinking alcohol in the park if they’re perceived to be causing antisocial behaviour. There would also be fines for those who refuse to do so.
We’ll have to wait and see whether the new rule goes ahead. In the meantime, let’s maybe all keep our weekend park seshes lowkey. Or at least don’t shit in a bush, yeah?