Thousands set to descend on Dagenham for music fest as licence approved

Parsloes park in need of repair. Residents have set up a group called friends of parsloes park in su

Parsloes Park is set to host the Elrow Town festival in August - Credit: Ellie Hoskins

A music festival is set to be held in a Dagenham park this summer after councillors approved a licence for the event.

El Row UK Ltd was given a three-year premises licence in Parsloes Park for its Elrow Town electronic music festival by Barking and Dagenham Council's Licensing Sub-Committee at a meeting on June 28.

This year's event is due to take place on August 20 and have up to 22,000 festivalgoers in attendance, according to a council report.

A hearing was held to decide on the licence after objections were made by the Met Police.

PC Owen Dunn said that the force had concerns despite meetings with the organisers Slammin Events.

He told the meeting that Parsloes Park had never hosted an event on this scale before.

"It's still felt local residents will be adversely affected by this event taking place, by means of the crime and disorder and antisocial behaviour that is likely to take place.

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"This event of this scale is likely to cause issues within the surrounding areas."

In his written submission, PC Dunn also raised concern about the loudness of music, saying that police did not see how residents could be "soundproofed".

On people exiting the event, he wrote: "There is likely to be an issue with urination against front doors, cars and front gardens. This form of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour is not acceptable."

The meeting heard from Matthew Phipps, of TLT Solicitors, who was representing the applicant.

Mr Phipps said the police objections were assertions without evidence to back them up.

He said that 6,400 letters had been sent to residents with "overwhelmingly positive" feedback.

On noise concerns, he told the meeting: "We are not here to soundproof.

"Soundproofing appears to suggest there will be no discernible impact whatsoever if this event proceeds. That is not a legitimate test. If that were the legitimate test, no events of a large-scale outdoor nature would ever go ahead."

The licence plan will see alcohol able to be served between 12pm and 10.10pm and Mr Phipps said the three stages and bars would close at different times to help with protracting the departure of festivalgoers.

Jim Goddard, crowd safety consultant, told the meeting that a plan had been drawn up to minimise the exit impact on the transport network.

He said an area will be created to hold people within the park if nearby stations get too busy when people head home.

Police asked for the licence to be for one year if approved but this was rejected by the applicant and the committee.

Among other events Slammin Events has put on include the Arcadia festival in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and a fireworks festival at Alexandra Palace.

Mr Phipps said: "If we were cowboys, if we were inexperienced, if we were not able to put ourselves in front of you with a proven track record with hundreds of thousands of attendees across hundreds of events, I can see the makings of the argument for the one-year licence."

The members granted the licence, with legal officer Simon Scrowther explaining: "Whilst sub-committee listened very carefully to the concerns of the police, sub-committee did take the view those concerns were comprehensively addressed by the applicant in their submissions.

"Sub-committee noted the police representations about a one-year licence but it was satisfied the various responsible authorities' right to call in the licence for review should the venue cause concerns to the licensing aims and objectives are sufficient to promote those licensing aims."

Elrow is already advertising the Parsloes Park festival on its website, with a number of acts announced and tickets available to purchase.

The report outlined that the 2023 and 2024 events would be held over three days - Friday, Saturday and Sunday - in June, July, August or September.

These are expected to have up to 29,999 attendees.

It added that specific dates and capacities would be agreed between the applicant and the council six months in advance.