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Camden’s Primrose Hill to close gates at night in antisocial behaviour row

 (BBC News & Current Affairs via G)
(BBC News & Current Affairs via G)

Primrose Hill will close its gates overnight at weekends in a row over antisocial behaviour after dark.

The famous north London park will have permanent metal gates installed, which will be closed from 10pm to 6am from Friday to Sunday during the summer.

The Camden green space, known for its scenic view of the London skyline, had been locked overnight with temporary fencing brought in over complaints of noise during Covid.

The move by the Royal Parks has divided local residents in the area. Some believe that the problem is being overstated and that the barriers could prevent locals from accessing the space.

Others, however, think that the fencing will help combat noise and disturbance late at night.

Among those in opposition is the veteran broadcaster Jon Snow, who lives in the area.

Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, the former Channel 4 news host said: “I honestly think they have really built themselves a problem, and they are trying to create one which doesn’t exist.

“We are not talking about serious disruption. If there was an issue we would have heard about it, I haven’t heard anyone discussing this.”

The issue was initially thrown into sharp focus by the Covid 2020 summer lockdown, which saw complaints of excessive noise.

Councillors have also been told that there is only one police officer responsible for all of Primrose Hill and nearby Regent’s Park and that no officer is on duty on the hill late at night.

Eleanor Sturdy, a Camden resident who chairs the area’s crime panel, said she supported the gates.

In comments reported by the Guardian, she said: “There is crime still going on. We have had reports of sexual assaults, people being assaulted with machetes and fireworks going off. I think this is the right idea.”

In a survey published by the Royal Parks said that 583 people who responded, just under 60 per cent had “witnessed or experienced threatening behaviour” in the park after 8pm.

The Royal Parks said it would now be submitting a planning application for the permanent barriers to Camden Council in due course.

A spokesperson said: “There have been very strong views on both sides of the debate between those who wish to see the park locked at night and those who wish to keep it open.”