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Residents fear impact of new Brick Lane Comedy Festival

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 June 2013

Alan Davies, who is on the bill for the Brick Lane Comedy Festival

Alan Davies, who is on the bill for the Brick Lane Comedy Festival

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Fears over boozy revellers marring a comedy festival when it is held in the East End for the first time have triggered calls for its cancellation.

The Brick Lane Comedy Festival is due to bring big name stand-ups including Alan Davies and “pub landlord” Al Murray to Allen Gardens, Spitalfields in July.

But residents in the area say they are already fed up with thousands of people descending on their park every weekend to soak up the sunshine and unwind with alcohol and legal highs.

And now they fear the festival could bring “further misery” to the area.

In a letter to local councillors, chair of residents’ organisation Spitalfields Community Group Matthew Piper wrote: “This will bring 1400 additional people into the area, the vast majority of whom will drink heavily.

“They will then spill out onto our streets and bring further misery to local residents. I really do urge you to look into this festival and to try to get it stopped.”

Last weekend, furious residents of nearby Buxton Street reported “missiles” being thrown into their gardens and broken glass strewn across the park.

But organisers of the festival, which is relocating from Greenwich to east London for the first time this year, insist it will be run with the local community in mind.

Organiser Cass Briggs said: “We do not promote excessive drinking. If anyone is deemed too drunk we do not serve them anymore.

“We have run it in exactly the same style in Greenwich and not once have we had complaints. We want to enhance the local area, not make it worse.”

And a spokeswoman for Tower Hamlets Council said organisers had demonstrated the necessary expertise to manage large events, including strategies to minimise the impact on local residents.


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