Concerns over noise and drunks at Croydon music festival

Plans for a music festival in a park have sparked fears of noise and drunken revelers.

On Tuesday (May 21), Croydon Council’s licensing committee reviewed plans for Norbury Park’s Family Fun Day and Music Festival on August 3 and 4.

The Jamaica Basic Schools Foundation applied for a license to host the event for the second consecutive year.

Lisa Patient, from the group Friends of Norbury Park, spoke out against the festival.

She said: “Our concerns relate to the fact that this is a very residential area and that this event is located literally a stone’s throw from the back gardens of residents in Green Lane.

“We feel it’s a real nuisance for them to have to live with this event over the weekend.”

The event has been held for the past 29 years at various locations, but Ms Patient said there had been “inadequate oversight” of the event in recent years.

She questioned whether sufficient health and safety checks had been carried out at previous events.

She added: “There are loads of huge lorries carrying barriers, all sorts of equipment that arrived at 2am last year to be set up, which woke up the whole neighborhood and there was no oversight from the council or the event organizers .

“There was no signage to direct the people organizing the event.

“They didn’t know which road to use or which gate to enter and it was left to the Norbury volunteers to sort that out.”

Ms Patient added that there was “very inadequate clean-up” after the event and that it took residents “several weeks” to pick up pieces of metal that had fallen from the gates surrounding the event.

Ms Patient claimed that the area outside the event is being used by non-ticket holders but still listening to the music and drinking in the park. She added that the organizers do not clean up outside the park.

She also said the sound level was not monitored and was “pretty horrible” for everyone living around Norbury.

Jenni Rogers, who lives directly behind Norbury Park, said although the event ends at 9pm, the music continues past midnight.

She added: “The people in the park are there with their radios and barbecues and they stay until midnight which has been a real nuisance.”

She said there had been a lot of “aggression” from people parking outside residents’ homes and pressed for this year’s event to have “proper signage to direct cars to the public car park”.

Organizer Josephine Williams-Brown said: “I strongly disagree with the objections made by the Friends of Norbury.”

She added: “There can be no litter on the ground in and around the area.

“I also don’t agree that they are the only ones monitoring the park as we have people from the council monitoring the park all weekend.”

She said organizers were “trying their best” to keep noise levels to a limit, but understood the parking issue.

She said she and organizers had blocked off Hayfield Road and the entrance to the park had been moved by the council in 2023 so as not to disturb neighbours.

She claimed residents told her they didn’t mind the loudness of the music, citing it was “just one day”.

Ms Williams-Brown denied the event ever took place after midnight, saying: “People don’t have barbecues in the park until 12pm.

“If you are going to object, please object with real objections and not made-up ones.

“We will abide by whatever rules the council and the police have given us.

“It’s always been my intention to follow those rules and make sure people aren’t inconvenienced by a significant amount.”

Ms Williams-Brown added that since it was an event, there would naturally be a “little disturbance”.

She also denied that anyone had ever come to set up at 2am and promised that her team would set up no earlier than 8am this year.

Cllr Danielle Denton said cleaning up the area would be crucial given the danger of glass bottles, especially when revelers are intoxicated.

Ms Williams-Brown said: “We will go above and beyond the call of duty to clean up the area” and stressed there would be “extra security this year as it is a two-day event”.

She added: “It is not my intention to disturb the residents.”

She said there would be between 40 and 50 Services Industry Authority (SIA) bodies checking bags.

Chairman Cllr Cummings concluded that the committee would return with a decision by Wednesday 29 May.

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