‘It’s already rowdy’: Residents unhappy with plans for 5,000-strong events at Hampstead Heath beauty spot

Hampstead Heath pergola. Photograph: Peter O’Connor / Wikicommons

String quartets could serenade couples as they make their wedding vows at a hidden corner of Hampstead Heath built by a wealthy industrialist.

The City of London Corporation has applied for a live music licence for events for up to 5,000 people at the Hill Garden and pergola in the West Heath off Inverforth Close, near North End Way.

The romantic spot “was the dream of William H Lever, later Lord Leverhulme, a wealthy idealist, patron of the arts, architecture and landscape gardening; and Thomas Mawson, the celebrated landscape architect”.

The Corporation said music will mainly be played by a “string quartet or other supporting/complimentary music befitting the venue” as background music at wedding ceremonies and drinks receptions.

It wants to play live and recorded music and serve alcohol outdoors between 10am and 9pm, or until dusk in the winter months.

The City of London said events will be invite-only and staff serving alcohol will be trained about licensing rules. No drinks will be stored on site.

Events will be scheduled to avoid artificial lighting and “noise levels will be supervised by staff/contractor’s staff at all times and be in keeping with the site’s location within the parkland setting”.

Its application comes before Camden’s licensing committee on 23 February.

Some residents who live nearby said wedding celebrations are a disturbance.

One of them told the council: “These weddings cause noise, nuisance and disturbance to the residents and owners of Inverforth House.”

Residents asked for the number of attendees to be limited to 2,000.

Peter Goodkind, the director of Inverforth Close (Management) Company Limited, wrote to Camden’s licensing committee: “Weddings in Hill Gardens are a comparatively new event. They already cause a high level of noise affecting our enjoyment of our own properties. An alcohol and live music license will have an adverse negative effect on the area and all houses in Inverforth Close.”

He said the area was already suffering from “rowdy and noisy” after-hours gatherings when crowds get into the park even though it is closed and the Heath Constabulary “are called out on a regular basis”.

In a response to residents, the City of London said it was looking into reports of trespassing.

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