Uproar over bid to use Trinity Square Gardens, home to seamen’s war memorial, for parties
A furious row has blown up over a bid to use a park next to wartime memorial gardens by the Tower of London for entertainment.
Moving Venue Catering has applied to Tower Hamlets council to construct a temporary marquee in Trinity Square Gardens, and for a commercial entertainment licence for the venue.
The application has been condemned by MP Jim Fitzpatrick and the chairman of the council’s licensing committee, as well as by Trinity House, which represents Britain’s mariners.
Limehouse and Poplar MP Mr Fitzpatrick is demanding Tower Hamlets Council rejects the application.
He said: “Using this space for entertainment would be desecration.
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“This is the only memorial for the families of 35,000 seamen lost at sea during times of conflict.”
Trinity House said the entertainment “would impact on the dignity of the respect to those remembered there”.
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But Mr Fitzpatrick has been told by a senior licensing officer that his representation on behalf of the families is ‘not valid’, as the objections are outside the Licensing Act.
“It was insulting — I blew a fuse over this,” he said. “I just lost it when I got the response. This place is not appropriate for people to get drunk and party in.”
He has written to licensing officer Mohshin Ali accusing him of “total disregard for the significance of this site as a national war grave”.
Mr Fitzpatrick, whose constituency includes the seamen’s national church of St Dunstan’s, has contacted the entertainments company urging them to withdraw.
The application has also brought condemnation from the Tower Hamlets’ licensing chairman Peter Golds, leader of the Tory opposition group, who pointed out the proposed dates for events starts November 22 — nine days after this year’s Armistice Day ceremony memorial.
Cllr Golds said: “How appalling that wreathes will be removed and replaced by canap�s, champagne and fairy lights.”
It emerged this week that Trinity Square Gardens has already been rented out to the company.
Opposition Labour group leader Joshua Peck said: “No-one knew about the gardens being rented out. The Mayor should reconsider this, money isn’t everything.”
The council said it has received “valid representations” against the application, which means the entertainment bid will be determined by its licensing sub-committee.