Mayor blocks plans to use war gardens for drink-fuelled parties

Plans to hold drink-fuelled Christmas parties in a wartime memorial park have been blocked by the mayor of Tower Hamlets after protesters branded the proposals crass.

Events firm Moving Venue had initially been given the green light to stage parties in Trinity Square Gardens, an area close to Tower Hill which contains memorials dedicated to thousands of mariners who died during the two world wars and the Falklands.

But after strong opposition from MP for Poplar and Limehouse, Jim Fitzpatrick and the Labour and Tory opposition parties, independent mayor Lutfur Rahman agreed to veto the plans.

The council “did not wish to cause offence”, the mayor said.

He added: “Staging events in the gardens was an idea put forward by Trinity House who have been working with the council and the proposed event organisers so I am surprised by comments made this weekend.

“As it no longer has the support of Trinity House and the maritime community I have put a stop to this event.”

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “It was a very poor call by the council to try and licence this sacred piece of ground. Fortunately the objections from a variety of constituents and relatives from across the world whose loved ones are named on the memorials has led to a breakout of common sense.”

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The Labour MP said he received emails from relatives of mariners living as far afield as Australia, Canada and New Zealand opposing the plans.

Outrage came after it emerged alcohol would be served from early on in the day until midnight.

Mr Fitzpatrick originally labelled the use of the gardens for the parties “desecration”.

Licensing chairman and Tory leader Peter Golds pointed out that the events were due to start on November 22, just days after this year’s Armistice Day ceremony.

Mr Fitzpatrick added: “I’d like to see the council putting some kind of covenant on the park to ensure we don’t get any of this nonsense ever again.”

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