Permanent gates should be installed at Primrose Hill after a 16-year-old boy was stabbed to death.

This was the message from Royal Parks - the group that runs the beauty spot - at the first general meeting of the Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill Safer Parks Panel since the killing of Harry Pitman on New Year’s Eve.

The 16-year-old Tottenham boy and his friends were among crowds waiting to watch London’s fireworks from the hill when violence flared.

A 16-year-old boy has appeared at the Old Bailey charged with his murder. The Metropolitan Police later said private security guards had conducted weapons sweeps at entrances to the park on the night.

Royal Parks first put up temporary fencing to stop illegal gatherings during the Covid lockdowns in 2020, but later proposals for gates to enforce overnight weekend closures have divided park users.

Some neighbours support measures to stop noise, but the Open Spaces Society is among those opposing them.

Speaking at the panel meeting on Friday (January 26), one woman asked whether there would be gates, and how much they would cost.

Ham & High: L-R, Cllr Anna Burridge, Mary Jane Roberts, Serg John Berry, PC Christian Roberts and Xandra Bingley at the Regent Park and Primrose Hill Safer Parks Panel meetingL-R, Cllr Anna Burridge, Mary Jane Roberts, Serg John Berry, PC Christian Roberts and Xandra Bingley at the Regent Park and Primrose Hill Safer Parks Panel meeting (Image: Nathalie Raffray)

She said: "We know it's very controversial among neighbours and people who live around it but I don't know whether the Royal Parks really want to close the parks or don't want to close the parks at night.

"Have they got the money to pay for these gates, because they are numerous, there are so many gates.

"Would it make it safer or wouldn't it make it safer? It's very vague."

Joe Ellis, a technical officer for Royal Parks, which runs Parliament Hill said: "The aim is to install gates.”

Royal Parks, which runs the beauty spot, submitted plans to Camden Council last autumn for nine permanent gates. Mr Ellis said management would decide on fundraising if planning permission is granted.

Describing the current fencing as “unsightly”, easily broken and costly to replace, he added: "Given that we've already closed the park in certain instances with the temporary fencing, it will actually be beneficial to have a permanent solution which will be a bit more flexible and more cost effective in the long run."

Panel chair Justin McKie said: “In the past the park was gated so I think they'll take a view to go back to where we were but it's still an option to keep the gates open."

He said it would be "great to get some clarity" over the timescale and resources as it would allow police to be deployed more effectively.

After the meeting, Primrose Hill resident Catherine Usiskin said she was not in favour of gates.

She said she often went out the park at 2am if she could not sleep.

"It's really important to have an open space," she added.

Alex Andrews, who has stood as a Conservative council candidate, said it was not good to let people believe Primrose Hill is a dangerous area.

She added: "A lot of people have kids and want a place for their kids, and themselves, to go.”