Proposal to increase drugs and alcohol use in Pennington Street. A good idea? (Updated again)

With the questions about public safety in Wapping raised at the meeting the other night still fresh in my ears I was amazed when I read an email from resident Genevieve McMahon who lives in Artichoke Hill off Pennington Street.

Pennington Street is a drugs problem area

We were told at the meeting by the MPS officers present that one of the problem areas for drugs was Pennington Street weren’t we?

One of the problem areas that means precious police resources are diverted away from other areas?

Yes we were.

Prepare to be annoyed

So please read on and prepare to be annoyed. This is the contents of an email and licensing variation objection sent to me by Genevieve who has kindly let me edit and publish a version.

Objection from Genevieve McMahon to licensing variation for Studio Spaces Ltd, 110 Pennington Street E1W 2BB

There is an application lodged by Studio Spaces Wapping, trading out of the premises formerly occupied by Mangos Nightclub (110 Pennington Street) to allow a variation of an existing license to permit trading from midnight until 7:00am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

It is my strong feeling that allowing the purchase of alcohol until 7:00am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings  at this premises will increase the frequency of criminal, disordered and antisocial behaviour in the vicinity.

Because this location is secluded from high volumes of traffic, my husband and I have frequently observed derelicts buying drugs from vehicles on our street, on Pennington Street, and neighbouring Chigwell Hill.

We often see people (often apparently alcohol-impaired) urinating, spitting and littering at the entrance to our block of flats, and the adjoining driveways and alleyways.

We have a repeat problem with users of the nearby “shisha lounge” and the MacDonald’s and Dominos takeaway restaurants congregating at our sheltered front entrance way, and consuming their food and liquor, spitting and threatening residents.

These people also cause criminal damage when confronted, in one instance, drunkenly kicking down our plate glass entry door after being asked to leave the  property.

It is not far-fetched to assume that any place offering entertainment that endures to dawn, will include some customers who would be taking additional recreational stimulants to help them party through the natural hours of sleep.

I therefore submit that it is highly likely that people would use the seclusion of Pennington Street, Artichoke Hill and surrounding areas for the purposes of buying, selling and consuming drugs out of the view of venue security enforcement.

There is not enough other foot-traffic or vehicular traffic in this area to act as a deterrent to alcohol or drug-impaired people who wish to engage in antisocial or criminal behaviour.

In summary, please do not grant this license variation request.  There are plenty of places in London where there is adequate infrastructure and street life to SAFELY accommodate extended hours trading.  Pennington Street is a totally inappropriate location for this activity.


If you wish to oppose this variation you need to make your objections to the address below

Re: License Variation Application for  “Studio Spaces Limited”, 110 Pennington Street, E1W 2BB.

The proposed licensable activity to be varied is:

  • The sale of alcohol by retail 00.00 to 07.00 Thursday to Saturday
  • The provision of regulated entertainment 00.00 to 07.00 Thursday to Saturday
  • The provision of late night refreshment 00.00 to 07.00 Thursday to Saturday

Yes dear readers you read that right. Seven in the morning! Excuse me?

Submissions in opposition to the application need to be made by January the 16th to:

London Borough of Tower Hamlets – Licensing section
Mulberry place (AH)
PO BOX 55739
5 Clove Crescent
E14 1BY 
Email address: 

Are the authorities serious about reducing crime in Wapping?

My personal view on this is quite simple.

Not only should be oppose this variation in license maybe we should take this one step further? If the MPS can show linkage between the drug problem in Pennington Street why don’t we ask for this establishment to be closed down?

Although you have to assume that if the MPS and Tower Hamlets could do this they would have done so already. Wouldn’t they?

Either way let’s see what happens with this issue.

If the MPS and Tower Hamlets Council meant what they said at the meeting regarding Wapping Woods and street safety this licensing variation will not be granted.

Further reading

The details for the Licensing Committee at Tower Hamlets Council has also been brought to my attention.

Update 20.51 10 January 2013

This is a corker of a letter by Alex Bagguley which has been fired off to EVERYONE who matters regarding this license variation application. Enjoy. Then make your views known to those who represent us. It’s what they are for!

Dear All,

I am contacting you regarding my many concerns about the above application.

At the moment this area of Wapping is experiencing a huge increase in anti social behaviour, drug taking, drug dealing, violent and threatening behaviour.

Many local families are feeling the impact of this daily. Local mothers have had their building doors kicked in, had glass bottles thrown at them and been threatened when they have confronted large groups of men smoking, drinking and drug taking/dealing by their front doors (Eluna Apartments and Breezers Court). There also seems to be a problem with ‘joy riding’ recently with drivers openly stopping on Wapping Lane and winding down their windows as they take drugs for all to see.

The above proposal is utterly insane. Extending the license till 7am will only add to our current problems in the area. Please please consider that you have a SCHOOL and a CHILDREN’S CENTRE in close proximity to Pennington street. If this proposal is accepted the intoxicated and worse will be spilling onto the streets at a time when local parents walk their children to nursery and school.

Please also consider that those ‘partying’ till 7am are unlikely to all cross over to Shadwell and go home. Many will walk through Wapping and loiter in bus stops etc

I absolutely guarantee that by granting the above application you will see an increase in anti social behaviour, drug taking and drug pushing and I plead with you that you do not allow this to happen.

I have copied in the children’s centre and Green Gables School as I feel it is important that they too are aware of what has been a very quietly published application.

Thank you for your time,

Alex Bagguley

Wapping Resident and Tower Hamlets Teacher


Good, innit? And cos Alex is a teacher she can spell proper and fings!

Why not follow her example and email all these people?

They are the members of the Tower Hamlets Licensing Committee. I am sure they would love to hear from you. These decisions are Council decisions so there is no point in emailing our MP I have been told, so email these people instead.

UPDATE 11.09 11 Jan 2013 : Swift response from our local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT)

I have had a very quick response from our local SNT which is below. Bottom line people is that if we want to object to this variation (or anything else for that matter) we need to get people along to the hearing. Which is a pain if you don’t work nearby.

SNT response to objection of variation of license for  for  “Studio Spaces Limited”, 110 Pennington Street, E1W 2BB

“I will be objecting to this application. I have forwarded your objecting to You may wish to send it again.

In terms of your objection, I realise that it eats up your own time, but when the application is heard at a licensing committee, it is important that local residents attend and voice their concerns. The committee will often listen to this rather than myself turning up to object.”

So the committee needs to hear us. Stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “Proposal to increase drugs and alcohol use in Pennington Street. A good idea? (Updated again)

  1. The variation to this licence should not be allowed.

    We have to ask ourselves:
    1) Why would someone want a licence until 7am?
    2) What types of individuals would a facility like this attract?
    3) What does a facility like this encourage people to become?

    Many of us understand that drugs and alcohol do often go hand in hand with late night/dawn breaking entertainment, as does accordingly dependency and addiction to a certain lifestyle that does not compliment a healthy lifestyle. This in turn can lead to uncontrollable anti-social behaviour.

    There have been several incidents of anti-social behaviour relating to 110 Pennington Street reported previously. Why would nyone support the encouragement of more anti-social behaviour?

    We walked with the Safer Neighbourhoods Team up and down Pennington Street on 21st December and were given a shocking insight as to the problems that are currently faced there.

    We went into a warehouse unit next to 110 Pennington Street that had been recently raided by the police. This unit had been breeze blocked off into smaller internal units without any relevant permissions. The police told us that they had raided this unit recently and they found 60 shish pipes surrounded by lots of hanging fabrics which were a big fire risk. There was no fire escape for this unit it was deadlocked during certain hours when in use and nobody was able/allowed to exit. The police also said that there were people as young as 13 who were taking drugs and drinking. I was told that four of these individuals were arrested. I have been reliably informed by a commercial tenant of the unit 2 doors away that those people that were not arrested have since returned. The drug and alcohol abuse activities going on there were first brought
    to the attention of the police when the tenant in the warehouse next door was beaten up and had his life threatened. I
    believe he still feels under threat and a member of his staff has refused to return to work.

    We have also heard that there have been abusive threats to residents in Artichoke Hill and I personally know someone who was threatened who lives in Telfords Yard.

    These incidents involve both residential and commercial people in the area.

    We don’t believe any variations, continuance of existing licences or new licences should be issued in and around this area until such time as the roots of the causes and problems are identified, contained and eradicated.

    We also wonder what St George plc, the new owner of the old News International Site (now known as the London Dock Development), has to say. They will be developing all down Pennington Street on the South Side. Any further trouble in this area will certainly impact on the future viability of this area.

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