The ticketing of Pride’s street party is necessary to avoid another Hillsborough, a public meeting has heard.
Around 70 people packed into Brighton’s Dorset Gardens Methodist Church this evening (May 28) to hear proposals for this year’s event.
It is the first time the Saturday night street party, which is held in and around St James's Street, will be ticketed.
Addressing the meeting inspector Tony Lumb, from Sussex Police, said last year’s event was “intolerable”.
He said: “This is something of a confession, but we couldn’t effectively police it. We didn’t have control of the street.
“We were ignoring criminality, not through want or desire or lack of resources but because we couldn’t get to people and places.”
He added: “The sheer number of people and the sheer amount of glass made it dangerous.
“We can’t have a repeat.”
David Samuel, from David Samuel Associates, which has been brought in by Pride organisers to plan and manage the event, gave a presentation of the proposal.
It would see five streets named no-go areas in a bid to control the crowds. They would be Margaret Street, Charles Street, Steine Street, Prince Street and Wentworth Street.
Fencing and security would then create a perimeter in which only wristband holders could enter.
He told how punters could buy the wristbands for £5 – which would equate to £2 for Saturday, £2 for Sunday and £1 for charity.
Residents of the specified area would get special wristbands allowing them access. However, if they want to buy alcohol from the pubs and supermarkets in the area from 4pm on the Saturday afternoon onwards, they would need to buy a £5 wristband.
Among the other proposals would see no glass on site and double the amount of security of previous years.
He said there would be capacity for 35,000 to 36,000.
Paul Kemp, Brighton Pride director, told the meeting the organisation would receive no financial benefit from the proposal, with money from wirstbands paying the costs of the infrastructure.
He said: “We just want a safe event for people who come from all over the UK and Europe.”
Residents, business owners and Pride punters raised a number of issues at the two hour 40 minute meeting.
Questions included how organisers would ensure the event remains open to those on low incomes, how would police reduce anti-social behavior and why should party goers have to pay at all?
A number of residents also expressed their displeasure at having to pay £5 to visit their local shops during the event.
Two of the three ward councilors, Geoffrey Bowden and Stephanie Powell, were present.
Both spoke of their support for the ticketing system.
Coun Powell said she was unsure about when they first ticketed the Preston Park event but admitted it was “the best thing they could have done”.
She said: “It was only a matter of time before it happened here. You can’t squeeze that amount of people into an area like this and not expect another Hillsborough.
“It has to happen.”
Pride will be held this year on August 2.
For a full look at the proposal and a report of the meeting see The Argus on Friday.