Primrose Hill left trashed as thousands of drunken revellers celebrate New Year's Eve
PUBLISHED: 12:49 02 January 2015 | UPDATED: 17:44 02 January 2015
Residents have slammed the police for failing to properly control the thousands of drunken revellers who travelled to Primrose Hill to watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve – with the area left victim to vandals, hooligans and even people defecating in the park.
Tens of thousands were said to have descended on the usually quiet and leafy village to ring in the New Year after many were unable to get tickets for the main firework display.
But while many celebrated in good spirits, the lack of a police presence left some able to rampage through the area vandalising community projects, urinating on front doors and, as one resident noted, leaving Primrose Hill “looking like a slum”
Residents awoke on New Year’s Day to see the park and surrounding streets “the worst they’ve ever been”, littered with smashed glass.
Many questioned why more officers or stewards were not present to control the crowds.
Phil Cowan, who lives in Albert Terrace, which overlooks the park, said: “I’ve never seen it like this before – it was complete chaos and the whole area was left wrecked.
“There’s still broken glass everwhere, my door was used as a toilet and the fruit trees community volunteers had planted last year were ripped up.
“I don’t understand why the police didn’t think to provide more officers. I only saw one police car the whole evening.
“I realise they are stretched over New Year’s Eve but surely now the main fireworks are ticketed heading to Primrose Hill has become one of the biggest London events of the night.
“I’d hate for it to happen, but if it continues like this they’ll probably bring in ticketing to stand on Primrose Hill as well.”
Cllr Jonny Bucknell, Conservative representative for neighbouring Belsize, awoke in the morning to discover some rowdy revellers had tried to take his mobility scooter for a joyride.
He said: “I left it outside Chalk Farm station only to find it had moved 100 yards down the road and pushed to the other side of the street.
“Everything had been torn off it, including the handle. They were obviously very desperate to try and get it going but didn’t have the key. I’ve had to take it to the repair shop.
“The really worrying thing about the evening though was the complete lack of police on the Hill.
“Earlier in the evening I went down to Trafalgar Square to find it half empty. I returned to Primrose Hill to find tens of thousands of people.
“Boris should have free fireworks next year. It’s clear we need to keep the crowds in central London.”
Many residents took to Twitter to express their anger over what they perceived as poor planning on behalf of the authorities.
James Miller tweeted: “Where were the police and stewards for #primrosehill NYE? There were over 50,000 people and no provision of events management.”
He added: “I’m writing to the council about this. Last night was like NYE on Trafalgar Sq minus police. Hooliganism was rife.”
Comedian, author and Primrose Hill resident Karen Ross tweeted: “Primrose Hill looks like set of Slumdog Millionaire this morning. As if guests turned up and trashed your house.”
Journalist John Ryan even suggested people had been defecating in the park, tweeting: “Primrose Hill trashed this AM as people denied the South Bank switched allegiance last night. Empty bottles, human faeces etc.”
Residents have called on the authorities to ensure more protection is offered for this year’s event.
A Royal Parks spokesperson said: “As expected, many people visited Primrose Hill on Wednesday night to see in the New Year.
The Metropolitan Police were present throughout, monitoring crowds and ensuring public safety. Extra bins were placed around the park and our clean-up team worked overnight into New Year’s Day. Prior to NYE we placed posters around the park and information was added on our social networking site and website advising visitors to be considerate and respectful and to take litter home.”