As nightclubs and music venues across London remain closed, Westminster City Council has been tackling a rise in illegal, noisy, crowded parties and ‘pop up nightclubs’ across the capital, a trend that they believe will continue until licensed premises and nightclubs can reopen.
The council’s noise and licensing teams have provided a swift and effective response to complaints from residents and local stakeholders. Working alongside local police partners, council officers have investigated and responded to large parties, gatherings, and unlicensed music events (UMEs) across the summer, dispersing crowds, and putting measures in place to stop further instances.
Recent action saw an 80-person-strong party at a property in Brewer Street, Soho shut down by officers from the council and the Metropolitan Police’s West End teams. The teams were able to intervene early and shut down the event quickly, effectively, and before the evening began from reports of music equipment being carried into the property.
A further intervention in July led to teams clearing out a short-term-let property in Carlisle Street, Soho where more than 100 people were partying with no social distancing, and with a DJ soundsystem, unlicensed alcohol sales, and entry fees. The property owner was served with a noise abatement notice and a prohibition notice under new covid-19 lockdown regulations, one of the first notices of its kind given out by the council.
These instances provide examples of the council’s quick and effective intervention system, with reports from local residents leading to on-the-ground action from noise officers and our police partners
Cllr Heather Acton, Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection & Licensing said:
“Ending loud, disruptive, unauthorised and unsafe parties and events is a challenge for the council, and one that we continue to pursue in order to protect our residents, visitors, and our local services.
“Quick and effective action for these events is essential in the current climate, with large uncontrolled gatherings and unlicensed alcohol tending to lead to a lack of social distancing measures, as well as public order concerns.
“Council teams working effectively alongside the police to end these large parties not only helps create a pleasant and welcoming environment for our residents and visitors, but importantly it also helps to protect their health at this time.”