Tobacco Dock

tdIn October 2012, Tobacco Dock was relaunched as a dedicated venue for conferences, events, parties and fairs. This has brought new life to a much-loved Wapping building but can at times lead to disruption and disturbance to residents by patrons of the events and from loud music.

I received a small number of complaints about a motorcycle event in June 2014 and had a meeting with Tobacco Dock to discuss how they could improve their management and relationship with residents. You can read about my meeting here. I then received no further complaints until summer/autumn 2015 when concerns were raised about cooking fumes from the Meatopia event, and noise, rubbish and ASB from some of the bigger party events.

I therefore arranged a meeting between residents, Tower Hamlets officers and Tobacco Dock, which took place last night.

Issues raised included:- traffic problems at collection times; ongoing noise monitoring procedures; litter picking; touting and dealing outside the venue; cooking smells; noise from the A/C unit; Sovereign Close being used as an illegal taxi rank. I shared my own observations about large numbers of people arriving via Wapping Overground, and leaving alcohol bottles on the platforms and in the lifts, urinating in doorways and dropping litter along Wapping Lane, as well as touting and the selling of nitrous oxide canisters. There are similar problems on the route from Shadwell DLR. On the positive side, I have also carried out several midnight walks after events have finished and been pleased to note that the venue was cleared out on time and rubbish collected along Wapping Lane.td4

We were all pleased to be able to agree on some clear action points to mitigate this kind of negative impact going forward and hope that things will improve in 2016. These include:-

  • Closer working with Tower Hamlets’ events team during the six London Warehouse Events that Tobacco Dock hosts.
    • Potential use of THEOs (Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers) along Wapping Lane and other hotspots to marshal crowds away from residential areas. THEOs have the power to confiscate alcohol and seize certain goods. They can also identify problem noise areas.
    • Potentially putting additional litter bags along Wapping Lane during large events which will be collected more frequently.
    • Better stewarding, particularly when events end, to prevent use of Sovereign Court and other negative behaviours such as touting.
    • Potential use of the council’s support vehicle.
  • There will be improved monitoring of noise and a review of the air-conditioning system. This will include noise monitoring from residential properties. There will also be better response times on the out-of-hours telephone.
  • Sharing of complaint data by council with Tobacco Dock so that TD can better understand what type of events are causing problems and what can be done to rectify them.
  • The fact that Tobacco Dock feels shut off to local residents was also discussed and I suggested maybe they could host an Open Day for people living in Wapping so that everyone can see this beautiful building and get to know the TD team better. Tobacco Dock are very happy to do this and thought summer might work best.
  • Better communication with residents. We are going to try to set up a mailing list for interested residents who can then be told what type of events will be on and when, and could possibly get discount codes for particular events. If you would like to be added to this, let me know and I shall get your name over to TD.td3

We also asked whether the new Dock Street bar inside Tobacco Dock might eventually be opened up to residents too. There are no plans at the moment but they are going to keep the idea under consideration as they agree that it would be good if residents were able to enjoy this facility.

It was a very productive meeting and every member of the Tobacco Dock team was open and eager to try to rectify the problems. They also took us through the careful procedures they already undertake to minimise disruption to residents.

There was also a representative of Tobacco Dock’s owners present, Hannah of Al Mubarakia. She was asked about progress towards the Tobacco Dock hotel, due to be built on the scrubby site on the corner of Wapping Lane. She doesn’t think they will commence the build until summer 2017 and says they are aiming for a twenty-four month maximum build time. The operator, Starwood, has just merged with Marriott and they are hopeful that this will prove a winning combination in terms of making the venture a success.

If you are a resident with concerns about noise or disruption during an event, please telephone Tobacco Dock on:

0207 680 4001

If you have a complaint after an event, let the team’s Head of Operations know as she is keen to be able to rectify concerns quickly and efficiently.

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