WALTHAMSTOW: Police criticise Olympic campsite plan

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Low Hall Sports Ground in Walthamstow is set to be turned into a campsite during the Olympic Games. Low Hall Sports Ground in Walthamstow is set to be turned into a campsite during the Olympic Games.

PLANS for a festival-style campsite on a playing field during the Olympics have been thrown into doubt after police said they were "very concerned" about public safety.

The Big Events Company (BEC) want to run a campsite, bar and live entertainment at Low Hall Sports Ground in Walthamstow between July 21 and August 16, but has attracted criticism from neighbours concerned about disruption.

Companies Wicked Campers and Sunday Events, which are major shareholders in BEC, organise events renowned for alcohol consumption and raunchy entertainment, but insists the site will be "family-friendly" and benefit residents.

Waltham Forest Council has already signed a deal with the firm and is pinning its hopes on making enough profit from the contract to help fund its 'Big 6' series of events to celebrate the Olympics, which could end up costing more than £1.5 million.

However the campsite is yet to secure a licence to sell alcohol, something which will be decided at a council hearing next Tuesday evening (April 17).

And council documents for the meeting reveal Waltham Forest Police have major concerns about crowd control, traffic management and evacuation plans for the site.

BEC wants to sell booze from 11am until 11pm every day, but police want 9.30pm to be the limit.

Officers say the firm has agreed to reduce the maximum attendance numbers to 8,000, although this is listed as 9,998 in the council papers.

Organisers say these numbers are for special events only and the normal capacity will be 4,000 on most nights.

In a letter to the licensing committee, borough commander Steve Wisbey said BEC's bid was lacking in detail and contingency planning.

He said: "As it currently stands, with the limited detail we have we are very concerned [about] the evacuation and incident management of the site as well as public safety concerning crowd and traffic management."

Commander Wisbey called for guarantees that metal detectors and CCTV would be installed on the site. As there are no plans for parking at the site he said organisers would also need to be responsible for routes taken by campers to access the site.

He added that the plans would also need to be reviewed by a security advisor from Scotland Yard due to its proximity to the Olympic Park.

A total of 17 residents have also objected to the plan over similar concerns about crime, safety and disruption.

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Comments (8)

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11:23am Thu 12 Apr 12

Silent Majority 2009 says...

So why could this site not have been used for the Basketball tng facility instead of wrecking Metroploitan Open Land behind the Ice Rink? The lack of joined up thinking with the Olympics is now apparent and is frightening. Leyton Marsh is causing a massive public row and now 4,000 campers on Low Hall when it usually just has a few dog walkers and occasionally some footballers. How much more incompetent can our council get?
So why could this site not have been used for the Basketball tng facility instead of wrecking Metroploitan Open Land behind the Ice Rink? The lack of joined up thinking with the Olympics is now apparent and is frightening. Leyton Marsh is causing a massive public row and now 4,000 campers on Low Hall when it usually just has a few dog walkers and occasionally some footballers. How much more incompetent can our council get? Silent Majority 2009
  • Score: 0

11:36am Thu 12 Apr 12

Nairn says...

Silent Majority - you forgot to add that there are around 50 rough sleepers on the Low Hall Ground each night too which the council doesn't seem to know about but local people do ;)

The sports ground is actually used a lot - most evenings and every weekend by football teams for people from disadvantaged groups and others. But yes, it would have been an option to have the Basketball centre there
Silent Majority - you forgot to add that there are around 50 rough sleepers on the Low Hall Ground each night too which the council doesn't seem to know about but local people do ;) The sports ground is actually used a lot - most evenings and every weekend by football teams for people from disadvantaged groups and others. But yes, it would have been an option to have the Basketball centre there Nairn
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Thu 12 Apr 12

Don't Give Up says...

This situation demonstrates very clearly what a shambles the way the council is run and goes about it's business.
First of all we were told the residents of Waltham Forest are being allowed to attend 6 "free" special events from money the council will receive out of the Olympics. The total cost of which is up to £1,500,000 plus an additional 10% payable to the organizing company.
At the public meeting to discuss the Low Hall Farm campsite, we were told the council has signed a contract with BEC on the basis of an initial payment plus an agreed percentage of the profit from the venture. It is obvious the main source of income and profit will be via the sale of alcohol especially as it is planned to have a monster size bar. The application for a drinks license appears to be a foregone conclusion as without it there is every chance either the event will be called off or result in a financial loss. This will mean the income to the council being greatly reduced.
We were told there will not be any additional police available to patrol the venue but BEC will have their own security staff to make sure nothing gets out of hand in the surrounding roads. When it was pointed out that these personnel had no jurisdiction in the roads it was greeted in silence and a shrug of the shoulders.
The above begs the following questions:
Why didn't the council consult with the police on their views and necessary requirements PRIOR to any formal contract being signed with BEC?
Is there going to be similar problems with the other proposed camp sites?
How can the council commit up to £1,650,000 to these 6 "free" events when they cannot guarantee a similar amount of income in return?
This situation demonstrates very clearly what a shambles the way the council is run and goes about it's business. First of all we were told the residents of Waltham Forest are being allowed to attend 6 "free" special events from money the council will receive out of the Olympics. The total cost of which is up to £1,500,000 plus an additional 10% payable to the organizing company. At the public meeting to discuss the Low Hall Farm campsite, we were told the council has signed a contract with BEC on the basis of an initial payment plus an agreed percentage of the profit from the venture. It is obvious the main source of income and profit will be via the sale of alcohol especially as it is planned to have a monster size bar. The application for a drinks license appears to be a foregone conclusion as without it there is every chance either the event will be called off or result in a financial loss. This will mean the income to the council being greatly reduced. We were told there will not be any additional police available to patrol the venue but BEC will have their own security staff to make sure nothing gets out of hand in the surrounding roads. When it was pointed out that these personnel had no jurisdiction in the roads it was greeted in silence and a shrug of the shoulders. The above begs the following questions: Why didn't the council consult with the police on their views and necessary requirements PRIOR to any formal contract being signed with BEC? Is there going to be similar problems with the other proposed camp sites? How can the council commit up to £1,650,000 to these 6 "free" events when they cannot guarantee a similar amount of income in return? Don't Give Up
  • Score: 0

5:28pm Thu 12 Apr 12

Walthamster says...

Once again, Waltham Forest council stars on the "Rotten Boroughs" page of Private Eye magazine, 6-19 April issue. In a story headed "The Chunder games", Private Eye note that, far from being "highly experienced", as the council claims, BEC was set up only last year. And lots more.
Read it and laugh, cry or chunder!
Once again, Waltham Forest council stars on the "Rotten Boroughs" page of Private Eye magazine, 6-19 April issue. In a story headed "The Chunder games", Private Eye note that, far from being "highly experienced", as the council claims, BEC was set up only last year. And lots more. Read it and laugh, cry or chunder! Walthamster
  • Score: 0

6:42pm Thu 12 Apr 12

mdj says...

Gambling with other people's money is what the City gets flayed for, but Cllr Robbins is happy to gamble with ours. It needs to be remembered that these bread and circuses are being organised by Cooperative Events (who are NOT on a profit-based contingency, we can be sure).
I'm sure we've all said many times over the years: 'It's time to party! Send for the Coop!' Exactly. So why not a local company, returning money into local pockets?
Well, the Coop is a major backer of the Labour Party, which is desperately short of funds. One of our MPs indeed represents the Cooperative Party. Do the dots form a pattern yet?
Gambling with other people's money is what the City gets flayed for, but Cllr Robbins is happy to gamble with ours. It needs to be remembered that these bread and circuses are being organised by Cooperative Events (who are NOT on a profit-based contingency, we can be sure). I'm sure we've all said many times over the years: 'It's time to party! Send for the Coop!' Exactly. So why not a local company, returning money into local pockets? Well, the Coop is a major backer of the Labour Party, which is desperately short of funds. One of our MPs indeed represents the Cooperative Party. Do the dots form a pattern yet? mdj
  • Score: 0

8:29am Fri 13 Apr 12

tjm01 says...

Are we really expected to accept that B.E.C will be able to effectivly control 4000 people who will have access to alcohol from 11 am until 11 pm
if only 1% decide to abuse this facility we have the makings of unrest, remember it is often the small minority that spoil things for the majority, this together with the increased number of vehices this will bring to the area could well make it almost impossible for the emergency services to attend if and when required, please have some CONSIDERATION for the local residents and the disruption they will almost certainly face if this event is allowed to take place,

Lets hope that common sense prevails
Are we really expected to accept that B.E.C will be able to effectivly control 4000 people who will have access to alcohol from 11 am until 11 pm if only 1% decide to abuse this facility we have the makings of unrest, remember it is often the small minority that spoil things for the majority, this together with the increased number of vehices this will bring to the area could well make it almost impossible for the emergency services to attend if and when required, please have some CONSIDERATION for the local residents and the disruption they will almost certainly face if this event is allowed to take place, Lets hope that common sense prevails tjm01
  • Score: 0

10:41am Fri 13 Apr 12

myopinioncounts says...

Local residents were not consulted about this decision any opposition to it was ignored. There is concern that there will be 'overspill' into nearby streets by boozed up bored campers; noise beyond the 11pm bar closure and parking problems in spite of the assurance that campers will not be able to bring their own vehicles. Who will ensure that the field will be restored to a playable condition?
Local residents were not consulted about this decision any opposition to it was ignored. There is concern that there will be 'overspill' into nearby streets by boozed up bored campers; noise beyond the 11pm bar closure and parking problems in spite of the assurance that campers will not be able to bring their own vehicles. Who will ensure that the field will be restored to a playable condition? myopinioncounts
  • Score: 0

10:41am Fri 13 Apr 12

myopinioncounts says...

Local residents were not consulted about this decision any opposition to it was ignored. There is concern that there will be 'overspill' into nearby streets by boozed up bored campers; noise beyond the 11pm bar closure and parking problems in spite of the assurance that campers will not be able to bring their own vehicles. Who will ensure that the field will be restored to a playable condition?
Local residents were not consulted about this decision any opposition to it was ignored. There is concern that there will be 'overspill' into nearby streets by boozed up bored campers; noise beyond the 11pm bar closure and parking problems in spite of the assurance that campers will not be able to bring their own vehicles. Who will ensure that the field will be restored to a playable condition? myopinioncounts
  • Score: 0

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