By Kit Heren
Illegal raves have been taking place in abandoned buildings on a doomed estate.
The latest party on the Central Hill estate in Gipsy Hill, which is due to be demolished by Lambeth council, was in the early hours of March 7 in Oakwood Drive.
Lambeth’s territorial police unit arrived on the scene at 3.30am – half an hour after being called, a briefing to residents said.
Police served a closure notice and created a dispersal zone and took nearly five hours to kick out all the partygoers, who were allegedly drinking and taking drugs.
Peter Elliott, a Green Party councillor in Lambeth, lives a few hundred metres from the estate – but said he could still hear the racket, despite having double glazing.
He said that there were dozens of cars parked alongside the party venue and that he wasn’t confident in approaching revellers, despite spending more than 20 years in the army.
Mr Elliott added: “It sounded like this was not a group to be messed with.
“There are still dozens of empty properties on the estate though, that are not properly secured, and there is a risk that they could be back again.
“I fear they could break into a house that is not empty. Also I worry that someone does try to take things into their own hands to try and silence these extreme disturbances and ends up getting hurt.”
The March 7 party was the third occasion in the last year when illegal raves have taken place on the estate. The first was in June last year. The raves started again on the last weekend of February this year, Lambeth council has confirmed.
Residents were disturbed by loud music from in the early hours of the morning and for several hours, coming from properties being emptied for the demolition of the blocks, Mr Elliott said.
Mr Elliott said he and others contacted the council’s out of hours noise service each time – but a council public protection operative told him that he had “been unable to find any calls relating to a ‘rave’” on the estate, and he’d asked outsourcing company Capita to look into it further.
A council spokesman said: “The anti-social behaviour on the Central Hill estate caused unacceptable disruption for residents.
“It was clearly the responsibility of a number of anti-social people who did not care about the damage they caused to the estate and the people living there.
“The property in question had been refurbished and new tenants were ready to move in later this month.
“The property had been secured, but we have investigated and found that trespassers vandalised the door and got into the property unlawfully.
“The police have been informed and council officers, including the noise service, have responded to concerns and have been working hard with residents since to clear up the mess left behind.
“The council takes the safety of all residents on the estate very seriously and we will take every action necessary to protect them from anti-social behaviour.”
Top: Litter left strewn after one of the illegal raves