Council urged to clamp down on Hampstead Deliveroo drivers intimidating neighbours
PUBLISHED: 15:07 02 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:06 03 May 2019
Neighbours in Hampstead are calling for action after a spate of antisocial behaviour and intimidation from Deliveroo drivers in the High Street.
One, actress Charlotte Lewis, said she had been told to “f*** off, you crazy bitch” when she had confronted drivers opposite her home in the High Street, asking them to be quiet so she could sleep.
“They were shouting and swearing,” she said, “so I went outside to ask them to be quiet.
“There was between 15 and 20 of them parked at one point over the Bank Holiday weekend. It's like a gang, and it can be very intimidating.”
The bikers congregate outside the Sushi Shop, and can regularly be seen parked in a line towards the crossroads with Heath Street.
Ms Lewis, who once acted alongside Eddie Murphy and Kentish Town actor Charles Dance in 1986 film, the Golden Child, has lived in her flat in the High Street for four years.
She said: “The council don't want to know. It's horrible. If they were bikers, there would be concern. If they were just congregating without their bikes, they would be moved on. Instead, as it's Deliveroo, they're allowed to stay.”
The riders are also having an effect on neighbouring shops. Owners report a constant battle with litter, and the stretch of parked mopeds mean people can't stop there to drop into shops.
Deon Williams, who manages a nearby cosmetics store said: “It's toned down the area. It's affected customers' ability to park, and if we're trying to sell them £400 creams, it doesn't help when they arrive and they're already unhappy.
“I've managed other shops in the area, and never had to sweep in front of the shop every morning to clear away cigarette butts.
“They won't wait anywhere else as they want to be the first in line for the orders.”
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She said that as they are travelling from outside the area to work in Hampstead, they “don't understand how Hampstead works”.
Hampstead BID manager Marcos Gold shared her reservations. He said: “This is a big concern from our point of view. We want to increase footfall and give people a great experience when they visit Hampstead.
“Businesses have complained that customers say they don't feel safe to go out on the High Street, because of the antisocial behaviour. That's unacceptable.”
The concerns were raised at a recent Hampstead Safer Neighbourhood Panel meeting. It is now on their list of policies for Hampstead Town Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team to follow.
Speaking to the Ham&High, Susan West, the panel's chair said: “Delivery bikes have been causing a nuisance in Hampstead High Street for long enough and something needs to be done now. Camden and the police can and should be tackling this. The police have a number of powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, including Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBO), community protection notices, public space protection orders and dispersal orders to deal with this menace. They can also seize and destroy bikes if the anti-social behaviour continues after warnings are ignored.”
Hampstead Town councillor Maria Higson (Con) said part of the problem was a lack of an alternative place for them to park. “We need a long-term solution that works for everyone,” she said. “They shouldn't be parking there anyway as it's double yellow lines. But, from those I have spoken to, they have said that it's where the restaurants are and where they are collecting from. They don't have anywhere else to go.”
A Camden Council spokesperson said: “We are aware that delivery scooters and motorbikes have been congregating on a specific part of Hampstead High Street over the last few months.
“The council has been carrying out enforcement activities as usual at this location. However, when our enforcement officers approach the scooters and motorbikes, they tend to be driven off. This makes it extremely difficult for us to issue a PCN.
“We will continue carrying out regular enforcement at this location to discourage these vehicles from parking here.”
Deliveroo did not respond to our request for comment at time of publication. However in a statement sent days later, a spokesperson said: “Deliveroo has been working with riders to make sure they park appropriately. We will be reminding them of their responsibilities in this area.
“Deliveroo would not work with any rider found to be abusive towards a member of the public. Such behaviour would not be representative of the vast majority of hardworking riders, who are valuable members of their local communities.
“[We] engage extensively with riders, who want to make a positive contribution to the areas they work in.”