Agenda item

Lock 'N' Load Events Ltd 2018, South West Four, Clapham Common Event Site, London (Clapham Common)


Presentation by the Licensing Officer


The Sub-Committee was informed that this was an application for a new time-limited premises licence. The Sub-Committee’s attention was drawn to Chapters 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 of the Statutory Guidance, and to Sections 4, 5, 6, 7 and Appendices 1, 4, 6, 7 and 8 of the Statement of Licensing Policy, as the ones particularly relevant to this application. The options available to the Sub-Committee were set out in paragraph 5.9 of the report on page 13 of the agenda.


In response to questions from Members, the Licensing Officer confirmed:

  • This application had been made by Lock N Load Events Ltd. for a time-limited premises licence in Clapham Common for the annual musical event SW4 held on the August Bank Holiday weekend.
  • The application covered a four day period but the applicant had confirmed that they only required three days.  However, the required days had not yet been confirmed by the applicant but a decision would be made in the next few months.
  • In the agenda pack, the following supporting documents could be found:
    • The application, pages 20-31;
    • The plans, page 33;
    • The House of Commons post-event report, pages 35-45;
    • The business survey analysis, page 47;
    • Lambeth Events Safety Advisory Group minutes, pages 49-57;
    • The Metropolitan Police objection withdrawal, page 59;
    • The residents’ notice for the event, page 61;
    • The weather plans, pages 63-70;
    • The charity funds, pages 71-73;
    • The Temple acoustic report, pages 75-92;
    • Residents’ complaint log, page 93;
    • The noise management compliance report, pages 95-114;
    • House of Commons complaint report, pages 115-120;
    • Trinity Hospice email, page 121;
    • Vanguardia Ltd. report, pages 125-133;
    • Wandsworth Council website, pages 135-136;
    • Representations against the application, pages 137-248;
    • 137 representations in support of the application, pages 249-316; and,
    • Premises licence, pages 317-340.
  • Jim Griffiths from Vanguardia Ltd. would be available to assist the Sub-Committee if required.  Olivia Pearcey, Lambeth Events, was in attendance to observe but was also available to assist Members, regarding the events permission process.
  • Although the application proposed to carry over conditions from last year’s event, an additional condition had been agreed with Trading Standards which would be discussed by the applicant’s legal representative, Mr Gareth Hughes.


A map and photographs of the premises were circulated to members.


Presentation by the Applicant


Mr Gareth Hughes, representative for Lock N Load Events, Mr Mattle, Owner and Mr Fiumicelli, Sound Acoustics Expert were in attendance.


Mr Hughes informed the Sub-Committee that:

  • This was a well-established event which had been running for the past 14 years.  Mr Mattle had hosted similar events on the Common and had experience of running large scale events since 1998.
  • 90,000 people attended the event each year over the three days.
  • The core days for the event would be Saturday and Sunday.  The event organisers requested four days which had been granted last year, although only three days were used.  A decision was yet to be made on which days would be used for this year’s event.
  • The hours sought for the event complied with the Council’s licensing policy.
  • Considerable support from more than 100 residents and local businesses had been received.  Some residents wished for the sound levels to be increased which had not been requested by the applicant. 
  • On 23 October 2017 Mr Mattle had met with the Council’s Safety Advisory Group (SAG) to discuss last year’s and this year’s events.  Colleagues from Events Lambeth, London Borough of Wandsworth and Lambeth’s emergency planning also attended the meeting.  At the meeting, Wandsworth Council raised no issues pertaining to the sound levels at last year’s event.
  • Residents were pleased that the event would be taking place in Clapham Common.  Trinity Hospice at Clapham Old Town, which had one of the measuring points situated outside their premises, supported the event despite the sensitive nature of the premises.  The Hospice’s Chief Executive had confirmed that no issues pertaining to noise had been experienced last year.
  • No objections from the police or environmental health had been received.
  • The representation submitted by Wandsworth Council objected to the sound levels.  However, the levels accorded with the Lambeth’s Events Strategy.
  • Last year, a limited number of complaints had been received considering that the event attracted 90,000 people.  In Wandsworth the complaints received had been reduced from 52 to 28 from 2016 to 2017 respectively.
  • Reference was made to the three sound reports included in the agenda pack:
    • The South Downs report, on behalf of Wandsworth, mentioned only minor incidents where sound levels had been exceeded.
    • Mr Fiumicelli’s report for Lock N Load, indicated that all requirements had been satisfied.
    • Vanguardia, confirmed that all sound levels complied with Lambeth’s Events Strategy.
  • Lambeth’s Events Strategy recognised that residents who lived nearby to the Common would experience some noise when events were held. 
  • The applicants agreed with the Council’s sound levels and therefore requested that the event should be allowed to proceed.


 In response to questions from Members, the Mr Mattle and Mr Fiumicelli confirmed:

  • No major issues occurred at last year’s event.
  • Constant monitoring for noise occurred during the three days of the event and also on the Friday during the sound check.  Noise monitoring had occurred simultaneously at all of the mixing desks, main stage, secondary stages and the five agreed fixed monitoring sites across the Common.  
  • Complaints made by residents during the event were responded to and visits carried out at individual properties to monitor noise.  If noise levels were exceeded a radio link was fed-back to the venue and adjustments were rapidly made.
  • South Down’s report, on behalf of Wandsworth, identified four 15 minute periods over three days where noise levels had been exceeded.  However, the difference could not be heard as it was less than two decibels and Wandsworth had failed to notify the event so that adjustments could have been made.  Over those same periods, despite monitoring being undertaken by the event, it had not noticed that the noise level had been exceeded.
  • South Down’s report noted that noise from the traffic on Clapham Common North and South, including from aircraft flying into Heathrow, were also contributing factors during the event.  Therefore, their report failed to establish that the music on the Common had been solely responsible for the breach.
  • During the last 13 years, event management continually made changes to the sound system.  The current sound company used a MLA (multicellular loudspeaker array) sound system, which could have its direction configured and controlled in real-time.
  • It would be very difficult to refine and control noise levels breaking out of the event any further without the levels being substantially reduced.  The level was already at the limit considered to be adequate and appropriate for such an event.
  • In the past, the sound levels of the top cabinets of vertically stacked speakers had been reduced to prevent sound travelling too far. 
  • The effect of the weather was usually considered to be short-term and wind speeds tended to reduce the impact of noise in the evenings.
  • Rotating the event by 180 degrees as suggested by Wandsworth was not considered suitable as it would only reduce the noise levels in Wandsworth situated west and south west of the Common and would have a negative impact on other residents. 
  • Complaints received from residents were variable but tended to be resolved.
  • It had not been brought to their attention that Mr Davidson, local resident, had requested a visit from the event last year.  However, Mr Davidson should have received a flyer with details of a hotline to contact in case of issues.  The event was aware that the particular area of Clapham Common where Mr Davidson resided remained a source of complaint, but was continuously monitored.
  • 5,000 flyers were distributed around Clapham Common publicising last year’s event and similar provisions would be made for 2018.  Flyers would also be posted through some residents’ letterboxes which was implemented by Lock N Load.
  • No statutory noise nuisance issues regarding the event had been brought to their attention and in their opinion, all noise levels had been adhered to.  Although Wandsworth Council appealed the decision to grant the premises licence for 2017 that appeal had been compromised by agreement in relation to the sound levels and monitoring points.
  • Mr. Fumicelli told the LSC that the determination by officers of the existence of a statutory nuisance did not address any issue as to reasonableness, which was a critical factor in the assessment of nuisance.
  • During performances on Saturday and Sunday, sound levels fluctuated and the noise gradually increased.  However, on the third day, a series of bands performed for up to an hour with breaks of 20 minutes for change of band. 
  • A vast amount of toilets were placed outside the main entrance.  Stewards and security were only available on the main exit routes for egress along Clapham South. 
  • The event welcomed any suggestions for improvements providing they were viable.
  • August Bank Holiday weekend was considered very busy as people tended to travel from other events which also caused noise issues.


Presentation by Interested Parties


Representatives in support


There were no representations in support in attendance at the meeting.


Representatives against


Mr Jas Lally, Residential Services Manager, Richmond and Wandsworth Borough Council, addressed the Sub-Committee by making the following points:

·         Regrettably Wandsworth Council had again submitted a representation as a result of 40 complaints from residents made directly to the Wandsworth Council due to loud music from the Lock N Load event last year.   Residents had now suffered from loud music from this event for two years running.

·         Following the Magistrates Court appeal last year, regarding the Sub-Committee’s decision, levels had been reduced at two of the locations.  However, 40 complaints had still been received. 

·         The complaints showed that the reduction in noise levels were not sufficient and the revised levels sought by Wandsworth should be considered and applied.

·         The levels sought would see a significant reduction of noise faced by residents, in particular bass levels should be reduced to that allowed by Westminster Council.

·         Complaints had been received from Wandsworth residents living one kilometre away from the Common in which loud bass music caused their windows to rattle.  This was considered to be very intrusive.

·         The statements produced by noise officers, demonstrated that the noise, in their experience, amounted to a public nuisance.  Their statements showed that the complaints made by residents were justified.

·         A number of other complaints by email regarding the event had been received by residents but had not been included.

·         The event prevented individuals from enjoying the comfort of their own homes and residents should not be disturbed by music that attracted over 90,000 people.

·         No survey pertaining to the event had been carried out or a year’s break, such as at Glastonbury, had not been considered.  However, the event occurred every year and attracted a large number of complaints.

·         The location of some residents’ properties near to the Common, needed to be considered in the proposals. Other authorities, such as Westminster, operated a lower bass level for their events.  

·         He refuted the assertions made that no public nuisance had been caused last year. 

·         Wandsworth felt that the permitted levels as suggested should be reduced as outlined to prevent further complaints and the event only be held for two days as the bass noise was too excessive.


In response to questions from Members, the Residential Services Manager confirmed:

·         Wandsworth officers worked independently on behalf of the Council.  Although they believed that a public nuisance had occurred, an abatement notice could not be served in Lambeth by an officer in Wandsworth.

·         No issues were mentioned at the SAG meeting on 23 October 2017 as that forum had no legal jurisdiction.  Wandsworth Council felt representations and issues should be presented to the Sub-Committee instead.

·         The event was deemed in accordance with the music levels set by the Lambeth Events Policy.  Therefore, to inform Lambeth that the music was considered to be intrusive to residents, the applicant would have informed Wandsworth that the standards set by Lambeth, including the conditions, were being complied with.  However, it was the opinion of Wandsworth that the levels set by Lambeth were considered too high in relation to bass levels compared to other local authorities.


At this stage the Legal Adviser to the Sub-Committee read out the appropriate section of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (sections 81(2)) and clarified that if Wandsworth did deem that a statutory nuisance occurred, they were empowered to act and could have brought the matter to the attention of Lambeth Council.


The Residential Services Manager further confirmed that:

·         Wandsworth Council felt the Sub-Committee was the appropriate forum to raise issues. 

·         It was felt that lower noise levels could be achieved if the stage was turned 180 degrees.

·         Holding the event over two days would enable residents to receive a respite as a result of other events being held over the Bank Holiday. 

·         Wandsworth received complaints from residents regarding other venues but the majority of complaints related to Lock N Load.

·         Wandsworth Council only had issues with public nuisance that would affect residents and wanted the event go head.  However, it was felt that the bass levels should be reduced as complaints were still being received. 

·         He was uncertain whether SAG had been notified regarding noise issues as the officer who attended the meeting on 23 October 2017 no longer worked for Wandsworth Council. He informed the LSC that officers had been tasked to attend and observe.


The Chair invited Olivia Pearcey, Lambeth Events, to address the Sub-Committee and she confirmed that:

·         Wandsworth Council had been invited to attend SAG to raise any issues pertaining to the event.  In addition, Wandsworth officers were invited to attend the debrief, site walks and to look at the sound monitoring points. 

·         Wandsworth officers raised no issues at SAG.

·         On event days officers from Lambeth Events and the Parks team were available for any concerns to be raised. 

·         If Wandsworth officers had informed Lambeth of the statutory nuisance last year, the matter could have been addressed by arranging for an independent consultant to visit Mr Davidson.

·         All concerns raised by residents pertaining to last year’s event had been addressed.  Events were proactively monitored with regular liaison undertaken with event management.

·         She would be happy to work with Wandsworth to address any issues.


Mr Alex Davidson, local resident, said that:

·         He objected to the 2018 event, on the grounds that it would cause a public nuisance to residents.

·         His house was situated close to where the event would take place.

·         Wandsworth environmental officers had visited his property on four occasions (4pm and 9pm Sunday 27 August 2017 and 4pm and 8.30 pm Monday 28 August 2017).  On the two evening visits they determined that the noise classified as a statutory nuisance.

·         As a result of the event, he was unable to enjoy the quietness of his home.  That weekend was very hot and on opening his windows, he could hear loud bass music which was very intrusive, and was audible even with closed windows.

·         The event had increased from two to three days and concluded at 11pm and not 9pm.

·         In 2016 Lambeth granted a 40% increase in the dBA level and 50% to the bass level (75dBA and 90dBC).  The main stage was located 74 metres away from his property, much closer than any other open air event, and closer than the Clapham Hospice monitoring site (150 metres).  Therefore, he experienced higher sounds levels for longer periods than were authorised.

·         In order to prevent statutory nuisance, consideration should be given to the distance of the event, crowd size, type of music and the nature of the event regardless of whether properties were situated in Lambeth or Wandsworth. 

·         The noise limit in relation to background noise should not vary from location to location as at present.

·         Although the local authority had a statutory duty to investigate complaints of sound nuisance, his request was refused by Lambeth.  He was informed by Lambeth that noise would only be monitored against Event Lambeth levels and not against any statutory nuisance level.  Therefore, as he received no support from Lambeth Council, he now sought a rejection of the application to prevent a statutory nuisance being caused by the 2018 event.

·         All amplified music events on the Common should be licensed on the same basis regardless of the type and sound of the event.  The level should not cause a statutory noise nuisance as he experienced last year.

·         The Winterville licence was granted on the basis that the music noise level would be no more than 3dBA above background levels.

·         40 event days were held on Clapham Common that used amplified music.  He felt that the licence for each of them, including Lock N Load, should be granted on the same basis to prevent a statutory nuisance being caused this year.


Ms Janet Sunborg, local resident, said that:

·         She had lived in Clapham for over 40 years and each year the bass music from events increased.

·         Last year, as a result of the loud music, she was prevented from opening her windows.

·         On the Friday before the event, the sound system test was extremely loud.

·         Each day after last year’s event, revellers continued to shout and scream on the Common until 2am.  Evidence of urination, defecation, vomiting, syringes and used condoms could be seen on the Common and pavements.

·         No police could be seen outside the surrounding areas of the Common.

·         She had called the contact number provided by Lock N Load on their letter, however sometimes the phone was not answered or, if it was, she was informed the event could not deal with her complaint.

·         She had not received a flyer pertaining to this year’s event.

·         People who attended the event were not local as they could be seen leaving via the underground stations.  Therefore local people did not benefit from the event.


In response to questions from the Sub-Committee, Mr Davidson confirmed that:

·         He had lived in Clapham since 2011 and the noise from events increased every year. 

·         He had not requested a visit from Lambeth for this year’s event as he would be informed that noise levels would only be monitored by Event Lambeth levels.

·         Although there were breaks in the music last year, when environmental officers attended his property on the evening of Monday 28 August 2017, the noise was regarded as a statutory nuisance.

·         When the event ended at 11pm the Common was very quiet.

·         He had contacted the event organisers regarding the noise.


The Chair invited Mr Griffiths from Vanguardia Ltd to address the Sub-Committee and he made the following points:

·         Hyde Park, Blackheath, Victoria Park and Queen Elizabeth Park had the same noise levels as Lock N Load for their events.

·         Noise measurements were carried out close to Mr Davidson’s address but no breaches to the conditions had been identified.  However, there were occasions where noise levels were close to being exceeded but the event was informed.

·         He believed that no public nuisance occurred in respect of the Lock N Load event last year. 

·         If the noise level was reduced to 70dBA (Leq 15 minutes) and 80dBC (Leq 15 minutes) as suggested by Wandsworth, this would have an effect on the event, as people would not be able to enjoy the music. 


The Chair invited Mr Hughes and Mr Mattle to the Sub-Committee and they made the following points:

·         Wandsworth officers had ample opportunity to raise their concerns regarding last year’s event at the SAG meeting held on 23 October 2017 but decided not to.

·         In relation to other complaints from residents made to Wandsworth in respect of other events, 579 representations against an event in Battersea Park had been received.

·         The EPA 1990 made it clear that adjoining boroughs could serve an abatement notice to another borough in respect of noise, which had not been carried out by Wandsworth.

·         The sound levels for the Winterville event held on the Common had to be lowered as the event lasted for 42 days.



Adjournment and Decision


At 8.24pm, the Sub-Committee withdrew from the meeting together with the legal advisor and clerk to deliberate in private.


The Sub-Committee had heard and considered representations from Mr Hughes, Mr Mattle, Mr Fiumicelli, Mr Jazz, Ms Pearcey, Mr Davidson, Ms Sunborg and Mr Griffiths.


Legal advice was given to the Sub-Committee on the options open to them and the need for any decision to be proportionate. The Sub-Committee decided to grant the new application as sought.


RESOLVED: To grant the application as sought for a new licence.


Announcement of Decision


Members returned to the meeting and the Chair informed those present of the decision to grant the application for a new licence as sought.  The Sub-Committee had considered all the options available to them and ultimately felt that the applicant met the concerns which had been raised. The Chair confirmed that written notification of the decision would be sent in due course.


Supporting documents: