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Controversial street party in Newcombe Road, Southampton, vows to go ahead
IT was a party that left a street riddled with rubbish, residents complaining about loud music and organisers facing a £2,000 clean-up bill.
Despite the three-hour council operation to rid Newcombe Road in Southampton of broken glass and numerous noise complaints from fed-up neighbours, organisers are planning a re-run this weekend to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee.
Police have warned anyone planning to attend the event, or any other unlicensed street party in the county, that they could be committing a criminal offence.
More than 4,000 people have so far been signed up to attend a party in the Polygon on Sunday.
Organisers, who have been arranging sound systems and DJs for the party, admit they have failed to arrange an official street closure, but insist the event will go ahead and is “100 per cent legal”.
But Southampton City Council and Hampshire Constabulary say they will take a “very dim view” if the road is closed without permission – and are urging people not to turn up.
Last year, long-term residents in the student-dominated area said they felt intimidated and had to take their cars to safe places, as more than 2,000 revellers took over the street.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said he was dismayed that another party was planned for this weekend.
He said: “It was horrendous. I was trapped in my own home.
“I even locked my cats in.”
Lorraine Barter, who is a member of local campaign group Residents Action and lives nearby, said: “I went there last year and it was like rush hour on the London Underground – you couldn’t move.
“I went round and asked the disc jockeys to turn it down and they couldn’t even lip read what I was saying because it was so loud.
“I phoned the police about 5.15pm and they wouldn’t come out. They told me afterwards if they had tried to go in and close it down there would have been a riot.”
The people behind Sunday’s festivities, who have not responded to the Daily Echo’s requests for a comment, have been urging partygoers to bring bin bags with them to avoid a repeat of the mountains of rubbish from last year.
In an online advert for the party, organiser Danny Baker said: “This is for all the family - bring your Nan, bring your kids.
“We were too late for road closure as the council needed three weeks minimum. They informed us to do a street meet.
“As long as all equipment is off the road, which will be the case anyway, we are fine to party.
“The police will not be shutting it down.”
But the police and council insist they will act on any attempt to obstruct the highway or close the road.
A spokesperson said: "We’re strongly discouraging people from attending this attempt to hold an unlicensed street party.
“There has been no application to close the road and any attempt to do so without permission would lead to police officers taking a very dim view.
“The council and police are already keeping a close eye on the situation and won’t hesitate to take action where necessary. Officers will be patrolling the area on the day.
"Police had not been made aware in advance of last year's event and so by the time we were notified, it had grown to a considerable scale and the safest option was to allow the event to continue.
“A number of police attended the event to make sure things stayed safe and to keep an eye on it.
“We must remind people that holding or participating in unlicensed events may lead to them committing criminal offences, such as obstructing the highway."