A steel bench with back with a notice on it.
One of the two benches that are the site of anti-social behaviour. Photo: Linus Rees.

Two benches outside Crabtree Fields park in Whitfield Street will be removed this week after Camden Council received complaints about incidents of anti social behaviour at the public open space.

“Unfortunately, we will be temporarily removing the benches on Whitfield Street outside Crabtree Fields because of the anti-social behaviour associated with them,” states a notice attached to both benches.

Fitzrovia News understands that several complaints have been received about people gathering at the benches and playing loud music late at night and in the early hours of the morning.

In an email sent to local residents a Camden parks officer said: “We will keep the removal of the benches under review as we intend to put them back at a future date. We will also consider them as part of the engagement around the investment project at Crabtree Fields.”

The “investment project” refers to the long overdue replacement children’s play equipment. The playground was closed in October 2021 because the wooden play features had “reached their end of life and require removal” said Camden parks department at the time.

But Camden parks is also considering a “redesign” of the whole park because of complaints from some residents about the behaviour of some park users.

At a meeting with parks officers and the police in July many residents complained that they felt threatened and that the park was not being locked on time allowing people to gather and create a nuisance after dark.

View of Crabtree Fields showing trees, pergola, and gravel area.
Contested space. Crabtree Fields is a habitat for birds and bats but some residents say it has too much green cover. Photo: Linus Rees.

An email from a parks’ officer states that “plans for the redesign of the site are proposed” and will be unveiled later this year.

Last year volunteers planted 100 trees in the park. Crabtree Fields is a nesting site for many species of birds including blackbird, great tit, robin, wren, greenfinch, and goldfinch. Common pipistrelle bats can also be seen flying overhead after sunset. It is a rare, biodiverse oasis in central London.

The Friends of Crabtree Fields volunteer gardeners want to plant more trees, shrubs, wildflowers and improve habitat for wildlife.

However, a number of residents say there is too much greenery and shade in the park and that it feels unsafe because there are too many hiding places and that it looks untidy. One resident said that the park has “too much ivy” and it should be returned to its original design of a “formal garden” when it was created in 1986.

Camden parks officers have sent an email to local residents in response to the July meeting giving instruction on how to report to the council and police:

To report a crime or anti-social behaviour as it’s happening or about to happen, call 999. For non-emergencies the police number is 101 (24 hours) or you can report a crime on a police website  www.met.police.uk/report.

To report anti-social behaviour after it has happened, or to update us on a 999 or 101 call that you have made please contact communitysafety@camden.gov.ukparks@camden.gov.ukSNTEK-.Bloomsbury@met.police.uk

Please include the date and time of the incident and any other information that you think is relevant including a CAD number if you have one.

The parks@camden.gov.uk email goes to Camden’s green space section.  We want to know when there is ASB and crime on the site as this will help us to work with our colleagues in community safety and the police to try to address it. 

The communitysafety@camden.gov.uk  email goes to our community safety team who will organise for Community Presence Officers (CPO’s) to patrol the site.  The community safety team work very closely with the police to coordinate responses to ASB and crime across Camden.

The SNTEK-.Bloomsbury@met.police.uk email goes to the police officers in the safer neighbourhood team that patrol the area that Crabtree Fields is located in.