Lovebox Festival gets go-ahead despite noise concerns
A councillor has accused Tower Hamlets Council of being more interested in money than residents following the approval of a four-year licence for the LoveBox festival.
The licence was rejected by the council last month, yet Cllr Joshua Peck, Labour's Bow West ward representative, claimed Environmental Health teams in the council were stopped from putting forward an objection despite numerous noise complaints.
Environmental Health received 122 complaints of noise at last year's festival when the decibel limit had gone up to 75, as opposed to 18 complaints in 2011 and 2012 when the limit was 70 decibels.
Cllr Peck said: "The council makes hundreds of thousands renting out the park. They were told by Environmental Health about the noise complaints, but I've been told that senior officers told EH not to take this to licensing.
"There's a real financial conflict between the council renting out the park and being the licensing authority. It's always the money that's going to win."
Cllr Peck made the claims following an appeal hearing at Thames Magistrates Court last week when the initial refusal was overturned.
At the licensing appeal, festival organiser Mick Bowles said the data they had received from the police directly linked to last year's festival was significantly lower than the UKCrimeStats figures presented by campaigners.
He said this year the number of stewards would be more than doubled to compensate for the extra 10,000 capacity, and they would be placed along key exit routes.
A spokesman from LoveBox said: "We are pleased that our appeal was upheld. Now we are focusing on delivering the best Lovebox ever to the tens of thousands of people who enjoy the event, while minimising disruption to residents."
A council spokesman said: "Disruption to a relatively small part of the site during these works is only temporary.
"With regards to noise, officers are on site to ensure levels are not breached. There is a dedicated hotline number for residents to call if they have any issues.
"This application was dealt with by officers in the normal way and the licensing committee was provided with full information on noise complaints by the environmental health team.
"Officers were not stopped from putting forward objections relating to noise complaints."