Safer Neighbourhood Board
Pre Carnival Open Meeting Minutes
27th May 2014, 6:30pm at Lighthouse West London
Eman Yosry, chair of SNB
Lewis Benn, Carnival
Ian McNicol, Council
Mark Bird, Silver for Carnival, Police
Adrian Hodgson, Council
Billy Bowden-Long, Borough Police
Chris Munns, local sector Inspector
The Chair, EY, gave an introduction describing the transfer of responsibility for the meeting from CPEG to the new SNB. She explained how SNBs function. She then asked Lewis Benn to start responding to a set of questions the panel had been given prior to the meeting. These questions were drawn up from the last meetings, from emails and letters received from residents.
Lewis Benn, Carnival:
- Re Stewarding: A stewarding company had been chosen and funding is in place. This is funded by the Mayor. LNHCET are happy with the choice. The company offers training to those interested and this training ends with accreditation with the opportunity of further employment. LB asked for anyone interested who works with Community Groups to contact LNHCET
- Re Route Management:
A route management workshop was organised. At this meeting there was feedback on how things went last year and concerns were voiced. Another meeting is being planned.
- A schedule for Carnival floats for entry and exiting with timings is being drawn up. There will be the same number of vehicles (135 vehicles approx. 74 performing units) on the route as last year. They will need to adhere with timings. Static sound systems should not start before midday and will close down at 7pm. Bands may start at 10am and will be off route by 8:30pm by which time the music is switched off.
- Re Stanley Crescent issues:
There was confirmation that there will be no floats using this street neither as a holding place nor as an entry point. Also music is not to start before 10am and certainly not at 7am which is what Stanley Crescent has experienced these last few years.
- House damage due to noise cannot be directly attributed to Carnival, so there is no insurance cover for damage, such as plaster falling down and cracks in walls.
- Re Noise Levels:
Council have open phone lines for complaints: 02073613002. There were a number of people who tried to dial it last year, but had problems getting through to the Noise and Nuisance phone lines. Action: Council
- Bands should be punished for excess noise but to date nobody has ever been punished as yet. Systems are turned down when asked to do so and are monitored where possible by enforcement officers along the route.
- Re Floats’ artistic value:
LB had not been able to find the float with a military theme, where army fatigues were worn and replica guns on view. LNCHET agree it is not acceptable. He also stated it is the view of LNHCET that the number of T-shirted bands is a concern . There will be videoing of floats with an aim to improve standards. Action: Carnival Board
- Cllr. Campion remarked that it is noise levels that cause complaints. Floats waiting to get on route cause anger. Specifically Stanley Crescent and Kensington Park Gardens are inappropriate for parking up of floats.
- A resident asked for the number of Sound Systems in Middle Row to be reduced.
Mark Bird, Silver for Carnival Policing:
- Re Route Management and police contact:
Previously there was a police officer allocated to each float and this officer followed the float around the route. However, due to noise levels from the sound systems resulting in damage to officers’ hearing this was stopped. There are police officers dedicated to helping the bands, with one officer for each of the 5 sectors. Officers will also attend briefing meetings for the various arenas so they have better communication established with Carnivalists.
- Re Sound levels:
This is not a police responsibility.
- Re Sector 1 and issues with Good Times sounds system:
This popular sound system gets so many followers that it caused problems. However, they will not be there this year. Thought is going to be given to moving this system to another site. Action: Council and Police
- Re Spiked drinks and legal highs:
These are fairly new problems. Police will do their best to discourage the use of legal highs and council will also be tackling this problem with extra staff to focus on it. Parks Police will be helping with this problem too. Residents said that they had reported sites where the abuse was rife. Tavistock Gardens had a big problem with drug dealing and use. Police will arrest for open drug use or dealing. Action: Police
- Re Injuries during Carnival:
Ambulance service collates injuries. There are few injuries considering the number of revellers. Most police officers are injured when tripping over debris.
- Re Meanwhile Gardens:
This is a popular site and where there are dense crowds there is more crime. Police will be targeting known hotspots. Action: Police
- Re Stop & Search:
Police have chosen not to have a blanket Section 60 during Carnival. Section 60 where the police can S&S without reason is only used where there is specific trouble. Leaflets explaining the reasons for S&S have been printed, but have not yet been handed out in the S&S areas. These will be made available to officers conducting S&S this year. Action: Police
- 100 plain dressed officers will be used to target pickpockets and mobile thieves. A pickpocket team of police last year was successful in cutting the number of thefts.
- Cllr. Robert Thompson for Dalgarno Ward asked police not to bring detainees through the estate. As the streets are so busy around the area, police could not promise not to do this. Chief Inspector Bowden-Long promised to liaise with the community to address worries about this. Action: Ch.Insp. Bowden Long
Ian McNicol and Adrian Hodgson, Council:
- Re council responsibilities:
Clearing up the environment is the council’s responsibility. It is their role to coordinate the work going on to get streets back to normality as soon as possible.
- Leaflets on Carnival:
Residents complained that leaflets had not got to those who live Carnival footprint and around it. Even after calls to council and promises of the leaflets being sent it, it did not happen. While it is on the council website, not all have access to the internet. The leaflet also has information which would be helpful while out and about. Action: Council
- Re refuse collection and cleaning up:
IM was not aware of the specific instance of a dark substance that was not cleaned up after Carnival, Notting Hill Gate was mentioned as an area that was not given proper cleaning for weeks after Carnival. The cleaning up of homes which had been fouled was extended for an extra week as there was so much demand for this service. Action: Council
- Re Toilets and pissors:
Council spend £ 430,000 on Carnival. A considerable amount of this money goes to toilet facilities. There are 12 sites with a pissoir at each. There are 200 loos. There was a strong request for more toilets to be made available for the number of visitors to Carnival. Action: Council
- Toilets get filthy and revellers then use local people’s basements, streets and gardens. AH did point out that there is a budget for cleaning these toilets too. He did admit that there had been serious complaints about the lack of cleaning of the toilets during Carnival. This had been brought up by council to the company supplying the cleaners.
Questions, comments and answers:
- An article from the Evening Standard describing the ‘wee’ party going on during Carnival was handed out to the panel. Residents said that if it only were ‘wee’ then it would not be so bad.
- One lady spoke about her specific problem in Lonsdale Road. AH spoke to her hoping to be able to help her. Action: Council
- One resident said that cllr. Lightfoot had said that there were no problems with financing for more toilets for Carnival. IM would ask him about this. AH said that there is a limit to how many toilets, council can put up in the Carnival area. Action: Ian McNicol
- Cllr. Monica Press mentioned the Colville Forum which covers the centre of Carnival footprint. She said there is a big problem in All Saint’s Road and sound systems. She complained about poor clean up in the Portobello/Tavistock/Westbourne area. She proposes to organise a smaller meeting with those concerned with Carnival to discuss this.
- Re noise:
There are 37 sound systems licensed. Sound levels will be checked by council. It is not possible to do much about the floats with children following who are exposed to excessive noise levels and possible hearing damage.
- LB mentioned the ‘no glass’ policy for Carnival. It has helped matters, but it is difficult to enforce when people are selling drinks in glass from premises or revellers bring bottles from outside Carnival. However, there were many examples of broken glass in parks and gardens mentioned by residents, apart from the problem of human waste.
- Tavistock Gardens was cleared up later as drummers had drawn a crowd into the park and the cleaning up could not be done right after Carnival. There is no licence for music in Tavistock Gardens.
- Residents asked council to put more plastic bags in all streets hanging from all suitable railings for people to put their refuse into. Action: Council
- Re parking. There is an issue for residents who live within the Carnival footprint and have to move their cars outside the area. Due to numbers of people coming from outside the borough and parking in small residential streets, the Campden area has been closed for cars. This has caused problems for those within footprint trying to park their cars outside the footprint. Action: Council
- Zen Spa in Notting Hill Gate has an alley way next to it. They are open during Carnival and have had a problem with visitors using the alley way as a toilet. When confronted with this anti social behaviour there has been aggression towards staff there. Could council and or police check whether barriers can be put up to block this alley way? Action: Police and Council
- Cllr. Campion complained about the time it took for signs and barriers to be picked up from the area after Carnival. Police responded that they do their best, but it is a huge operation.
- British Transport Police will be asked about the possibility of opening tube stations earlier so people can leave Carnival area more easily. Action: Police
- Residents asked police to use commonsense when allowing residents returning after the bank holiday back to their homes, as this has been a problem last year. Re-entry into Carnival footprint after Carnival should be possible after 11pm. Action: Police
LB thanked all residents for their tolerance and understanding and recognise their contribution to the success of the Event and LNHCET work closely with all the agencies to help minimise the disruption for residents over the 2 days.
The chair finished the evening by thanking Adrian Hodgson for coming to the meeting on his week off and thanked the panel for answering the questions.
The meeting ended at 8:30pm.
Minutes by Karen Clark, vice chair of SNB.