2019’s Notting Hill Carnival takes place over the bank holiday weekend, Sat 24th to Mon 26th August 2019. As the largest street festival in Europe, this annual event has been running for over 50 years, offering a great spectacle and fun experience for London locals and visitors alike. However, if you live locally or own a business in the West London streets and neighbouring areas affected by the carnival, the event can also present a whole procession of problems!
The carnival itself takes place across West London, primarily around the streets of W10, W11 and W14, including Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Grove, Westbourne Park and Kensal Road.
Many other roads will be additionally affected by closures and the extra public transport being laid on to deliver visitors to nearby stations and stops. A good overview of streets affected are detailed on the Transport for London website.
Of course, the Notting Hill festival is longer than the carnival procession itself, with many of the festival’s other attractions and events taking place across the wider West London area. A broad schedule of when and where includes:
- Outdoor themed events on Saturday 24th August at Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park, Bosworth Road W10.
- Family day events on Sunday 25th August at:
- Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park, Bosworth Road W10
- Powis Square, W11
- Canal way, Ladbroke Grove W14
- The Grand Finale Monday 26th August Parade, involving all of those W10 and W11 areas above.
Problems of public partying
Although the festival’s organisers go to great lengths to try to ensure risks are minimised and behaviour is good, it’s always going to be difficult to manage the behaviour of the public turning up in large crowds – especially for an event as popular and well attended as the Notting Hill Carnival (second in the world only to Rio de Janeiro’s famous festival).
Although local businesses and local residents may enjoy the benefits of the Notting Hill events themselves, they can also be affected negatively, commonly by issues such as:
- Gardens being used as impromptu toilets – both urination, and defecation.
- Drunken behaviour – including drinking in private gardens, refusing to move on and drunken ‘pranks’.
- Disorderly behaviour – damage to property and gardens, antisocial acts and even threatening behaviour.
- Burglary and theft of property – busy events provide noisy distractions to the behaviour of burglars and opportunist thieves.
Whether your property is your home or is a business premises, it can make sense to protect it against the worst of this public behaviour. Steps such as boarding up windows and securing access are a good idea, but might also seem like a lot of hassle, expense and inconvenience to go to for just a weekend – so how can you work out if it’s necessary for you?
- Check on the Notting Hill Carnival website for details of events and routes to help identify if your property is in an immediate proximity of:
- Events, attractions and facilities on the festival schedule;
- Stations and stops which are accommodating the additional visitors to the area;
- Overflow areas, such as hotels, B&Bs or AirBnB’s which are likely to be accommodating visitors, and clubs, pubs and restaurants which are likely to be hosting refreshments and revellers.
- Identify if your property has ever been affected negatively by carnival participants – ask neighbours if you’re new or not sure.
Whilst you’re speaking to your neighbours, try to find out if your whole street has ever been affected negatively by the carnival and / or how close the street has come to experiencing trouble during recent carnivals.
- Check the carnival information on the local Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea website. As facilitators (rather than organisers) of the event, the local authority recognises the impact of the carnival on local daily life and offers a wealth of information on safety and access for residents and businesses. Their attractions map and safety information can be particularly useful in helping to identify how close your home or work is to busy areas.
- The local authority also work in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police to prioritise safety in the area of the event, so check the latest safety advice. In 2016, over 400 arrests were made across the carnival weekend and already this year the police have made several arrests as part of active prevention of problems (as reported in The Guardian, August 2017).
Protecting properties and premises
Once you’ve identified if your property, premises or even person could be vulnerable, or if you have decided to act preventatively in any case, then it’s worth looking at your options for security:
Boarding up benefits
Business premises, including shops, bars, restaurants and offices can be of specific risk of glass being smashed by revellers. The clean-up campaign after last year’s carnival saw many business owners complaining to the Metro newspaper about broken glass and the cost of closing their businesses as being particular problems.
Boarding up may mean losses from shutting shop for a few days but offers pro-active prevention which is often less costly than repairs (which themselves often also necessitate closing the business due to public liability from unsafe buildings) as well as insurance costs and delays.
For residential properties too, boarding up can actively prevent problems and costly clean ups, as boards can be fixed over glazing and gateways. Boarding also brings the benefit of securing basement areas, which can be additionally vulnerable to damage and burglary when the streets are overflowing with revellers.
Temporary fencing is also an ideal way to secure access points, including outside areas, gates and stairways for both businesses and residential properties. Security fencing offers an effective solution as there is minimal damage to property and gardens when installing the fencing, yet it can prevent a considerable amount of damage whether from litter and projectile debris or unwanted trespass.
Security fencing is also extremely easy to hire with speedy installation and removal, so you don’t need to live with it any longer than necessary.
Many local residents have already decided to combat the problem with security fencing solutions as a way to protect their property and avoid potential trouble around carnival time – without even having to be there.
If you think this could also be useful for your own property, do get in touch with our team as they’d be happy to advise on solutions to secure your peace of mind, as well as your property, during the Notting Hill Carnival.