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Boxpark chief dismisses anti-social behaviour claims as late-night licensing bid is passed

PUBLISHED: 17:41 02 November 2016 | UPDATED: 14:28 07 November 2016

Boxpark in Shoreditch

Boxpark in Shoreditch

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The CEO of Boxpark Shoreditch has hit back at claims it is a “cancer” to the community, saying there is no problem with anti-social behaviour.

Roger Wade was responding to comments made by neighbours in a report ahead of a licensing meeting at the town hall last night.

Fast-food joint Chicken Box had applied to extend its licence to serve booze until 11pm, which was eventually passed with conditions attached.

Locals had objected to the plans, saying mornings in the area looked like “the apocalypse swept through”.

But Mr Wade said the venue was a “well run and safe retail venue”.

He said: “This is wholly untrue and inaccurate. When Boxpark was first built on the Goodsyard site, the area had an illegal market selling everything from live pets to stolen goods, rubbish everywhere, and a major problem with drugs and homeless people.

“Since opening we have worked with Hackney Council to improve the entire area. The facts are there is not a ‘rising number of bars’.

“No new bar applications have been granted in the past two years, and the vast majority of our units do not sell alcohol. “And contrary to comments the venue is not ‘out of control’. The venue is well run with 24-hour security, CCTV and cleaning.”

He added: “We were not aware of the Chicken Box application to extend the licensing hours from 8pm to 11pm. Chicken Box is a privately run business and we do not control its licensing activities.

“Over 18 months ago, Boxpark consulted extensively with our tenants, Hackney Council, police and local groups to discuss the best way forward with resolving their concerns.

“As a result, we voluntarily agreed to reduce and monitor the licensing hours at Boxpark from 11pm to 9pm. The council and the local residents objected to this proposal and it was not successful.

“Boxpark Shoreditch is a well run and safe retail venue. The vast majority of visitors quietly enjoy Boxpark and we have no serious problems with anti-social behaviour.

“Since opening in December 2011 we have had no serious police-related incidents due to anti-social behaviour. We are a home to nearly 40 small businesses, which employ hundreds of young local people, and we are a major attraction for 500,000-plus visitors a year.

“We are happy to sit down with the council and local residents to listen to their legitimate concerns, and discuss the best way forward.”

The application was approved after agreements were reached with the Chicken Box, the town hall and the residents, council papers show.

Mr Wade also believes the objections were withdrawn at the meeting, which the Gazette was unable to immediately confirm with the council.

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