Select Committee on London Local Authorities Bill Minutes of Evidence


Evidence Session (Sections 2100-2199)

DAY SIX

21 MARCH 2006

 2100. I think in total there are 71 residential flats owned by the Inn.

(Colonel Hills) There are 71 owned by the Inn, one which is privately owned by Sir Patrick Sinclair and my house which also belongs to the Inn.

 2101. The total number of residents is approximately what?

(Colonel Hills) It is over 100 but it is continually changing because a large number of the barristers use their residential flats for weekday work rather than owning them outright. About 30 per cent live there full-time all the time. The students, of course, live there in the legal term times and quite often stay in vacations.

 2102. I should have asked you at the beginning whether you had an opportunity recently to reread your proof of evidence, have you?

(Colonel Hills) I have.

 2103. Are you content, insofar as you do not mention everything that is in it, that it should stand as your evidence to this Committee?

(Colonel Hills) I am.

 2104. Say something about your own residence, if you would, please?

(Colonel Hills) Could I use the plan? It might help.

 2105. Yes, of course.

(Colonel Hills) I think you have the plan. It is on page 123 of the bundle marked appendices to proofs of evidence.

 2106. Just after tab three?

(Colonel Hills) Correct. If I could just orientate you on the plan, north is roughly to the left of the paper, the south to the right, east to the top and west at Lincoln's Inn Fields to the bottom. New Square, which I described, is over here (indicating) which is largely 17th century buildings. Stone Buildings is over here (indicating) which is 18th century buildings and Old Square over here (indicating) which is 19th century buildings. The main collegiate buildings are shown as the Great Hall and the Library here (indicating) with my house in the round circle at the end of it. Over here (indicating) is the old hall in the middle here (indicating) which is part of the collegiate buildings of the Inn.

 2107. Thank you. Turning to Lincoln's Inn Fields themselves, the Committee have obviously heard a good deal about the Fields and seen them for themselves, and in paragraph six of your proof you describe how the Fields are used. Is there anything you particularly want to stress about that?

(Colonel Hills) My bedroom overlooks the Fields and I see it from the time it opens and certainly until the time it closes. Unfortunately, my office is just out of sight because there is a brick wall in between. I use the Fields myself regularly, I jog early in the morning and my family use it for relaxation from time to time and certainly pass through it regularly. In the summer the Fields are extremely crowded over the lunch time period and throughout the year Lincoln's Inn opens its gardens to the public, particularly the north lawn, between the hours of 12.30 and 2.30 each day. I also use the tennis courts in the Fields which are very heavily used. You need to book at least two weeks in advance to get a spot on the tennis court. At weekends it can be, particularly in the summer, very heavily used. In the winter, there are a large number of people who use it, this morning I counted nine dog walkers in the half an hour it takes me to get dressed and there were some people doing tae kwon do or tai chi and there were other people just walking to and fro on their way to work.

 2108. Colonel Hills, turning next to the maps which you produce as your DHH2 starting I think with page 124 and finishing at page 129, what you have tried to do here is to show the history of the Fields from the earliest days up to your latest plans in 1914 to enable the Committee to get a feel for the way in which the look of the Fields has not been all that different over the preceding centuries.

(Colonel Hills) That is correct. There have been some changes. As you will see on the first map, Lincoln's Inn Fields seems to extend to the south which, of course, no longer happens. On the second map, you see a general encroachment on that area which is in 1676. By the time you get to the map on 1746 that shows the extent of Lincoln's Inn bound by a wall with Lincoln's Inn Fields on the left. It also shows on there Portugal Row which is now part of Lincoln's Inn Fields, but Portugal Street still exists. If you go to page 127 on the map showing 1815, by that time the Fields were largely developed in the way that they are now in terms of surroundings except that Lincoln's Inn Great Hall and Library had not been built at that time. They were completed in 1845 and the 1873 map shows the Great Hall and you can see to the north of that, a building which I suspect was a house, but I am not certain because my house was reconstructed in 1964, but it shows the development of New Square completed. It shows Old Square, not as it is now but as it was then and it shows Stone Buildings' existence. The map for 1914 shows the Inn very much as it is today with the new chapel that has been built and the area of Old Square being rebuilt and re-shaped. The only addition to this map was two buildings, one in the north eastern corner and if I could point right up here (indicating) next to Great Turnstile, there is a building which addresses 30 Lincoln's Inn Fields which is let to solicitors which is a new building. There is another new building right in the middle here (indicating) which goes out towards Chancery Lane which is called Hardwicke Building.

 2109. CHAIRMAN: May I ask Colonel Hills one thing, you mentioned earlier in your evidence that your own garden, which I think you refer to as North Garden, is open to the public?

(Colonel Hills) That is correct. It is that garden there (indicating)

 2110. Could you tell the Committee where the access point is for the public for North Garden?

(Colonel Hills) Between the hours of 7 o'clock in the morning and 7 o'clock at night, the Inn is open to the public generally to pass through. There are a number of entrances, the ones that are open to get into the Inn are the main gate which is shown here (indicating) which is the only entrance between 7am and 7pm. There are then entrances in this corner down here (indicating) through a building, it is a passageway called More's Passage. There is an entry through Wildy's Gate which has got Wildy's Bookshop on either side. There is an entrance just here (indicating) beside Hardwicke building and there is an entrance through the old gateway off Chancery Lane, plus a further gateway just here beside Stone Buildings. There is a small, tiny passage to the north and the public can come in and out of all those places.

 2111. Access is relatively easy?

(Colonel Hills) It is very easy.

 2112. What amenity does your garden provide?

(Colonel Hills) We provide benches and waste paper bins. It is a garden for people to sit in and enjoy in quietness. They can walk around the other lawns, but they are not encouraged to go on them.

 2113. So it is "Keep off the grass"?

(Colonel Hills) Except the north lawn.

 2114. MR LAURENCE: Colonel Hills, the north lawn, as all of us who work at the Inn know very well, is the place to which members of the public and barristers are able to resort, particularly over lunch time, is it not?

(Colonel Hills) Indeed, that is so.

 2115. Just so the Committee should not be misled unintentionally by this, although the Inn as a whole is open between the hours that you mentioned, and I think seven in the morning until eight in the evening?

(Colonel Hills) Indeed. It is 12 hours. 7am to 7pm.

 2116. Although the Inn as a whole is open between those hours, the north lawn is open to the public to use between restricted hours, are they not?

(Colonel Hills) Yes, 12.30pm until 2.30pm.

 2117. That is two hours over lunch time, that is when the north lawn is accessible for any member of the public?

(Colonel Hills) At any time there are numerous numbers of walking London tours that come through the Inn but they just do not go on to the gardens. There is no restriction on people coming in and walking around. The chapel is open from 12.30pm-2.30pm as well.

 2118. The next topic I want to ask you about is the concerns of the Lincoln's Inn Fields Association. You are not able to give evidence from your own knowledge of the circumstances in which that Association claim to be in, but you have had access to a good deal of documentation on the subject, a selection of which is included in your exhibits, is it not?

(Colonel Hills) That is correct.

 2119. In paragraphs eight and nine, I think you introduced that documentation and you told the Committee something about the circumstances as you understand it?

(Colonel Hills) That is correct.

 2120. A good deal has been said about that as well. Summarise it if you would making the points that you think need stressing, please, Colonel Hills?

(Colonel Hills) When I arrived in the Inn, which was in May 1997, I had a period of handover from my predecessor. He told me about the rough sleepers who in fact I had seen about three years beforehand when I happened to be in Lincoln's Inn Fields at the Royal College of Surgeons. He told me there had been a great deal of difficulty with rough sleepers and that the only way to solve the problem was to result to some form of judicial review and that the Inn had, at that time, instructed Alan Steinfeld QC to write an opinion on the likely success of that. LIFA had grown up as an organisation and the Inn had a place on its management body which was filled by a bencher member of the Inn by the name of John Brooks who I have spoken to about this subsequently. The upshot of all of that was that in order to get rid of the rough sleepers there had to be some way of keeping them out and that required fencing and the Inn and LIFA contributed a significant sum of money to place railings around it. Even after the railings were in place because they were no by-laws, the public were still not admitted to the Fields until such a time as those by-laws were in place and those by-laws were much the same as those generally applied to most of the local authority parks at the time, allowing it to open from dawn until dusk. I was told by my predecessor that the work of LIFA had largely been done and certainly I was told by the bencher appointed to be our member on it that he felt that the work was complete and I do not think he attended very many meetings after that. He is recorded on at least one or two of the minutes but not very many. As a result, our information as to what was going on was not very great either. I think by about 1998, when I had been a resident for about a year, we were quite satisfied with the way that Lincoln's Inn seemed to have developed. It was much tidier, it was being put into order, there was quite clear direction to the staff there to keep it in decent order. They had produced a beautiful oriental-type garden which just happened to be opposite the bencher's drawing room window which meant that, unless you looked directly down from the buildings, you could have been in Hampshire or Berkshire or anywhere else rather than Central London. We were generally pleased with the way the Fields were being run.

 2121. In order to describe the next part of your evidence, you have introduced some photographs at DHH 4, pages 138-140, as well as a locational map on page 141. Those photographs were taken by you in November 2005, were they not?

(Colonel Hills) That is correct.

 2122. The purpose of taking these photographs is really so that the Committee can get a feel for the look of the Inn at a time when there are no structures erected and then do you invite them to look at the structures of which photographs also have been taken at pages 142-144.

(Colonel Hills) Indeed. The photographs of the structures which I downloaded from Fortesqueue, the event company's website, show a number of parties. I am unable to say which was which. Whilst Camden talk about an event lasting X number of days, on those days sometimes there were events taking place and other days there were not. Some events made a lot of noise and disruption and some of them did not. The whole period cannot be isolated as a period of disruption but it is not quite like that. It does show on the first page, DHH 4-5 on page 142, the size of the interior, so you get some idea of it with a bandstand in the middle. I should state that bandstand is truncated because the floor is about two feet above ground level to get a level area. On my page 143 you will see that the marquee had a sort of wing which extended into the north east quadrant and by placing banners and things around it, the public felt excluded even if they might not have been. In fact, if you look very carefully, you can just about see a small fence with some chairs underneath the awning part of that structure. I also show the pictures of the dodgems because they were on the website and also because I saw them there, and Ferris wheels and other fairground stalls were there as well. The final picture on page 144 shows the band stand in a different setting because between events there was a large amount of movement and changing around of furniture to suit the requirement of the person who was using it.

 2123. The aerial photograph at 145, what does that show?

(Colonel Hills) The aerial photograph which I asked my estate's director to obtain for me just by chance happened to show the structure right in the middle of it when we were sent it. It shows me the size of the structure with that awning extension going up towards the north east. It also shows on the right hand side of Lincoln's Inn, it shows the Royal College of Surgeons to the bottom. It shows Sir John Soane's Museum to the top and of course it shows the east side of Lincoln's Inn Fields. It also shows the size of the previous cafe that was there which is much smaller than the current one.

 2124. CHAIRMAN: Is that the building at the bottom of the tennis courts, as it were?

(Colonel Hills) Yes, it is.

 2125. MR LAURENCE: It is a lovely photograph. Colonel Hills, you have dealt with the impact which these structures had on you in paragraphs 12 through to 22 of your proof. You have heard a good deal of the evidence that has been given about the impact those structures have by others, have you not?

(Colonel Hills) I have.

 2126. I would ask you therefore just to keep your remarks relatively brief. What is it that you would want the Committee to take away from your particular perspective?

(Colonel Hills) I think the most intrusive part of these events has been the noise. Without a shadow of a doubt it clouded all sorts of things that are going on in the Inn and certainly, in my own case, in my own house. Frankly, the noise was intolerable. It could be heard as far away as Stone Buildings, it rattled the windows in my house, I was completely unable to go to sleep at times. It has to be borne in mind that it is not only these events that take place in Lincoln's Inn Fields, other things happen. Rough sleepers are fed immediately outside my bedroom window. Camden sent along a street sweeper for which I am very grateful because it keeps the rats down. It parks outside my bedroom window for three quarters of an hour every night with the engine running while the driver has a cup of soup or tea. We also get film crews parked in the Fields continuously, and I say continuously, they were there all last week, there were two different companies, one left on Thursday night and another arrived in the middle of the night on Friday night. At the same time, also opposite my bedroom window is a bottle bank. I am not asking for sympathy, these things just happen to be there and they need to be there, certainly the feeding of the rough sleepers. One of the consequences of the Inn pressing to get the fencing around is that the Inn has continued to support St Mungo's and Centrepoint to do something for those who were displaced, we do that on an annual basis and we provide a carol service to allow them to raise money by using the Chapel for free. We try and take our part but sometimes the noise from these sorts of events is quite intrusive. They upset some of our own clients, they upset some of our own members because the parties are always started about 7.30, the library is open until 8.00. We have debates in the hall and other events, certainly throughout June, not so much during July, we tend to let it out then because the students have gone home and I have had complaints from all manner of people.

 2127. You have had complaints presumably orally as well as in writing?

(Colonel Hills) I have had far more complaints orally than I ever had in writing.

 2128. So far as written complaints are concerned, do you include in your material some letters received, amongst others, from Mr Leolin Price QC at page 149, Francesca Quint at page 150 and Carolyn Walton at page 151?

(Colonel Hills) I did receive those letters and the reason I chose those letters rather than some of the others was because they show a spread across the locations I mentioned earlier.

 2129. You have also produced, have you not, a statement from Steven Dunn prepared, I think, in February this year at page 147?

(Colonel Hills) That is correct. Steven Dunn is employed as the Senior Butler in the Inn and he is often there late at night. He, of course, is on duty when I am not though most of the week I am next door if there are any problems and he had to deal, on a number of occasions, with people complaining directly to him, particularly about when the talks were taking place, where the speaker could not be heard because of the noise from Lincoln's Inn Fields, whether it was a talk or whatever.

 2130. CHAIRMAN: May I clarify an issue that all of this ambient noise that you have described, which is clearly significant, of the various other activities that you have talked about, the film crews and the rough sleepers and their soup kitchen and so forth, is it noise that is an issue as far as those activities are concerned?

(Colonel Hills) Those activities themselves do not make very much noise. The film crews make some when they are putting their vehicles into position because when the lorries go back, they make beeps and those carry. It is over and done with, they are there, and they stay there a week or however many days they stay and then they go away again and there is no disruption caused necessarily by that on itself. The events occurring in the Fields were a noise of a completely different magnitude. Where the film crews and the rough sleepers came into conflict was when the events were going on and people were arriving or leaving from the events, the traffic congestion could be appalling and as all our residents have to get in through the main gate, in fact it is the only vehicle access which means they have to get down to the south eastern corner of the Fields, trying to get past all the taxis and everything else picking people up from about 11pm to midnight was very difficult.

 2131. LORD FAULKNER OF WORCESTER: Can I ask Colonel Hill one question. The events about which you are complaining regarding noise, were these all summer events?

(Colonel Hills) No, they were both, my Lord.

 2132. LORD TORDOFF: When we talk about noise, are we talking about something that my grandchildren would refer to as music or are there other forms of noise?

(Colonel Hills) I think it is probably just the music that causes the problem and, of course, vehicles coming and going. They are a problem. It is more concentrated when you have an event which lets people go out than you get in a normal passage of traffic. Certainly, it is what your grandchildren would refer to as music. Some of the words which are normally indistinguishable I could understand.

 2133. BARONESS O'CATHAIN: High class music.

(Colonel Hills) Sometimes it was very good music, but it is still noisy.

 2134. MR LAURENCE: I should mention that the London Borough of Camden have promoted another Bill seeking powers to conduct filming on the highway immediately outside Colonel Hills' house as well as I think along the southern flank of Lincoln's Inn Fields. This is because they apprehend what they are currently doing, as I understand it, is not lawful. It is right, as a matter of record, is it not, that Lincoln's Inn Fields has petitioned against that Bill as well?

(Colonel Hills) Lincoln's Inn has petitioned against that Bill, correct. The Bill is the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Bill.

 2135. CHAIRMAN: Which is a different Bill from the one we are considering, but you are drawing our attention to some similar issues.

 2136. MR LAURENCE: Just so the Committee is aware that there is that separate issue. Colonel Hills, you have heard it suggested, have you not, and you have no doubt seen a copy of the re-amended clause, that things are going to be much better in the future?

(Colonel Hills) Indeed.

 2137. You have heard why it is said that things are going to be much better in the future: the structures are going to be smaller, the council will take steps to try and make sure that disturbance is kept to a minimum, if not eliminated, and so on and so forth. What do you say about all that?

(Colonel Hills) Can I draw your attention to my map on page 148. This map was drawn up by the two surveyors that run my estates department, the estates director and his assistant, who are both members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. The map shows a number of lines on it, in particular the green shaded area which is the area that in the 1894 Bill is the area in which no structures may be erected. You will also see lines running parallel to the north and the south, marked 100 feet. That is the area from the edge of the fields which similar structures are not allowed to be erected. That Act was inacted to protect the freeholders, which was Lincoln's Inn, and the members in the Inn. Because of the proximity of both the Library and the Great Hall, which are the collegiate centres of the Inn, the benches have instructed me to protest that any structure in that area contravenes that Act. The Act was put in place for very good reasons then and there seems no reason to change them now. I understand that Camden need to make a considerable amount of money in order to run the gardens, but under that Act they are statutorily required to run the gardens. The Inn, just on its collegiate buildings alone, pays in excess of £280,000 in business rates every year. There is a significant amount of money coming from the Inn already into Camden's box.

 2138. You take your stand on the proposition that the bargain which was made in 1894 should be adhered to, is that right?

(Colonel Hills) That and the subject of noise pollution. It is intolerable and people are unable to do their work and that is borne out by the letters attached to my proof from barristers who have to work there.

 2139. Do you believe the Committee can be reassured by the measures that Mr Stanton said he has been taking at all events more recently to try and address the noise problem?

(Colonel Hills) I wish I could be, but canvass walls let sound out, and I am not convinced by Mr Stanton's description of various speakers, which I think he gave when we were walking around on the site visit, that that will contain the noise. It certainly did not contain it before and I have no reason to believe it can contain it in the future. The Inn itself has on occasion erected marquees on the north lawn. I am now forbidden to do so because of the noise coming from those. I would like to raise money from my gardens as well.

 2140. Did you say the Inn has been forbidden to hold events?

(Colonel Hills) I have been forbidden to allow them to take place. I have to get special permission if it is going to happen, and it has not happened now since 2003, which was the last time we erected marquees. We did so because the Great Hall was being refurbished and we needed to conduct the call ceremony somewhere else. The marquees cost us £20,000. I tried to offset that cost by letting it out on two other nights. We had a party from a firm of solicitors which was considered to be too noisy.

 2141. CHAIRMAN: May I follow up on that point. Is it the case that the issue with noise, whether it be noise in a marquee erected by Camden Council or one erected by you or your team, that the issue is amplified sound?

(Colonel Hills) Correct.

 2142. And that events which do not involve amplified sound, of which there are occasionally some ---

(Colonel Hills) Camden has had some very good events in the park itself and the gardens. They have had a Hands Across the World sort of party which took place during the day and it made no noise whatsoever. Nobody could possibly object to that. They had the Birds of Prey, which I think Ms Gibson referred to, which put on a demonstration and they were then taken away and brought back again a month later and did the same thing again. It was very popular not only with the general public, but also with the members of the Inn. It did not make any noise and it was not disruptive in any way.

 2143. I was trying to get a feel for this issue about types of noise because quite clearly there is noise generated by a party of even the quietest solicitors, assuming they are having a reasonably good time. They might not have amplified sound as part of their party, or anyone else might not, so would it be fair to say that the objections that you and your colleagues have to noise is noise of a particular type?

(Colonel Hills) That is correct, my Lord Chairman, but I would make two points. One is an inclusion in the Bill which is until 1:00 am in the morning, which I think is far too late, and the other is the omission of any restriction on the number of decibels of sound that can be produced.

 2144. MR LAURENCE: Colonel Hills, you have singled noise out, is there a visual aspect that you want to say anything about at all related to the structures that you have seen in the past?

(Colonel Hills) Certainly. A number of our members complained to me that their use of the park was curtailed by the erection of these structures. A lot of people arrive at Holborn Station and walk through the park to get to work. There are over 4,000 people who are working in Lincoln's Inn and a large number of them walk from that tube station, though some obviously come from the other direction from Chancery Lane and others come up from Temple, but they all tend to either see or go through the park at some time during their working day. They felt that was curtailed. A number of people complained that while the events were taking place the event organisers' security staff was overly officious in keeping them off other areas of the park. I think you have heard about that already.

 2145. You understand that the latest version of the clause would propose that no event should commence earlier than the time of which Lincoln's Inn Fields is normally closed to the public in the evening. That is the new proposed clause 112(4), I think.

(Colonel Hills) I would take exception to that because from 4:30 in the winter until late at night people are still at work, therefore closing it at dusk and allowing events to start at dusk means that people would be disrupted in the way that they would have been in the past.

 2146. Colonel Hills, Mr Clarkson may have some questions for you. Those are my questions. Thank you very much.

Cross-examined by MR CLARKSON.

 2147. MR CLARKSON: Colonel Hills, may I begin with getting some elucidation of the documents you have just put before us. Page 142, the structure at the bottom of the photograph there. Mr Stanton's estimate is that it is of the order of 14 to 15 metres high. Does that accord with your recollection?

(Colonel Hills) I prefer to talk in feet. I would say it is about 60 to 70 feet high. I am afraid I am not terribly metric.

 2148. The consensus view of all three of us is that is about right.

(Colonel Hills) It is 20 metres high.

 2149. It is even higher. Thank you. Page 145, there are two points. This clearly was a summer photograph during a working day. I can tell that from the cars parked in Lincoln's Inn itself. Is that correct?

(Colonel Hills) Yes.

 2150. If we look around Lincoln's Inn Fields on the south side, there is clearly ample metre car parking space, is there? Do you see that?

(Colonel Hills) Yes, if we are talking about on the road.

 2151. Yes, and also on the east side facing Lincoln's Inn?

(Colonel Hills) On the east side I think the majority is resident parking bays. I park outside my house so I do not have a problem. It is one-way; all the traffic has to go all the way around there.

 2152. On the north side what is the picture there? Is there the same amount of car-parking on the north side as there is on the south?

(Colonel Hills) If I recall, there is no car-parking on the north side except in the evening when it is a single yellow line area, so they can park there after six.

 2153. The restaurant building, I am instructed at that time what that shows is a temporary tented structure and not the original cafe. Does that accord with your recollection?

(Colonel Hills) That is correct, but if you look at the size of the new restaurant on my map on page 148 you will see the size of the current structure. This is drawn to scale.

 2154. That is the current structure, is it?

(Colonel Hills) Yes.

 2155. The point I am making is that on page 145, that was not the original cafe, that was a temporary intermediate structure?

(Colonel Hills) That is correct.

 2156. The last point on that photograph. The only way to Lincoln's Inn in a vehicle is not confined to going along the north side of Lincoln's Inn Fields, is it?

(Colonel Hills) No, if you are talking about going up Serle Street and Carey Street, yes, and go turn immediately right. That is correct.

 2157. On the broader points, if we can, please. To some extent you and Mr Stanton have similar jobs in as much as you are both guardians of the parks, if I can call it that, that you both have under your aegis? Is that correct?

(Colonel Hills) That is correct.

 2158. You differ, but in comparative terms the income for Lincoln's Inn comes from the estate itself, of course, does it not?

(Colonel Hills) Correct.

 2159. The income comes from rent of barristers, car parking and other events?

(Colonel Hills) That is correct. Like Camden, our car-parking has gone down too.

 2160. I will not debate the cost of that with you now, we can have a word afterwards!

(Colonel Hills) It is the same inside as it is out on an hourly basis.

 2161. The Inn also has a process, does it not, of other events that add to the funds?

(Colonel Hills) Indeed, it does.

 2162. For example?

(Colonel Hills) Recently we had The Times Law Awards which were held in the Great Hall. We are very fortunate. Unlike the other Inns, I have three venues that I can let out: the Great Hall, the Old Hall and a room called the Court Room. The Court Room can seat about 40, the Old Hall about 100 and the Great Hall just under 300. We let those out for commercial gain.

 2163. People are coming and going in Lincoln's Inn after the working day in considerable numbers? Is that fair?

(Colonel Hills) Correct.

 2164. Is that preventing people working in the barristers chambers?

(Colonel Hills) Not to my knowledge, though I do get complaints if the party makes too much noise. That is one of the reasons why not only I but one of the other butlers lives in the Inn to make sure that we can get it turned down.

 2165. As has been raised by the Committee, the noise concern is not sourced from the presence of people, it is the amplified sound? That is a fair summary, is it?

(Colonel Hills) For complaints that is the sole cause of complaints, yes. I have now imposed a restriction that every event has to be finished by 11:30 pm.

 2166. Has there been a series of balls in Lincoln's Inn?

(Colonel Hills) There were a series of balls known as the Inns of Court Ball. Unfortunately the last one in Lincoln's Inn will be the last one because the disruption was considered by the Masters of the Bench to be too great.

 2167. The destruction?

(Colonel Hills) The disruption, though one of the complaints was about what happened to the grass, that is true.

 2168. Were they regular events?

(Colonel Hills) There have been a total of two Inns of Court Ball in Lincoln's Inn in the last 12 years.

 2169. CHAIRMAN: Were they fundraising events?

(Colonel Hills) No, my Lord Chairman, they were not. In fact, the last one made a loss.

 2170. Sometimes things that are intended to raise funds make a loss notwithstanding.

(Colonel Hills) Those were marquees? There was an element that went to the Bar Benevolent Fund, so in that sense, there was.

 2171. BARONESS O'CATHAIN: The bar meaning barristers as opposed to a pub?

(Colonel Hills) Correct.

 2172. MR CLARKSON: That is a charity, to be fair, for those who are suffering or having hard times. Those events comprised of marquees, did they have live music?

(Colonel Hills) They did.

 2173. Dodgems?

(Colonel Hills) Yes.

 2174. To put before you what the other Inns do, compendiously they do similar, do they not?

(Colonel Hills) They do. We all do things in a slightly different way. Middle Temple use their gardens extensively. They have a significant turnover from that. I am not permitted to do that. I am allowed five garden parties and that is it a year.

 2175. I am going to put the bundle of documents from the website of the other Inns before you just so we can see how careful other barristers are about what carries on in their own Inns. (Same handed)

(Colonel Hills) I think it is important to realise that the large majority of sets of chambers in Lincoln's Inn are either chancery or commercial. The way the chancery and commercial barristers work is somewhat different from the ways those in crime or family work. For example, most have their own room, most spend considerable periods of time in lengthy research and most spend long hours at their desks. They are not always dashing off to court the next morning, but they are spending a considerable amount of time with quite tight deadlines on highly expensive work. That does not mean to say that they are all wealthy because they are not, but it means that they have slightly different work patterns in many ways from those particularly in the criminal bar.

 2176. I am not going to accept that. It cannot be your case, can it, that there are not chancery barristers or commercial barristers or barristers who work long hours in any of the other Inns?

(Colonel Hills) That is not my case.

 2177. Nor is it your case that there are large sets of chambers that have premises on Fleet Street?

(Colonel Hills) No, it is not.

 2178. Where there is a lot of traffic and a lot of business?

(Colonel Hills) No, it is not my case. I am saying that the majority in Lincoln's Inn are rather different from the majority in the other Inns.

 2179. Let us go to the Middle Temple paper, which is the first sheet. We will not spend too much time on this. What I want to emphasise is the period that they are open. The Garden, on the first sheet, page one: "Please note the garden closes at 9.30 pm". Events under Duration of Events: "Any music or entertainment of any kind must stop no later than 11.30 pm on weekdays. On Saturdays music or entertainment must stop no later than midnight. On Sundays the Hall closes at 11.00 pm and music or entertainment by 10.30 pm", et cetera. Dinners finish at 11.00 pm, receptions at 10.00 pm. Clearly the garden is used until 9.30. There are people coming and going until 11.30 weekdays. That is not a problem for the Middle Temple, do you agree?

(Colonel Hills) I really do not have much knowledge of how the Middle Temple works in the day-to-day way. I do not think that if I walked down there today, as a member of the public, and tried to sit on the lawn before lunchtime I would be able to do so.

 2180. That is not the point I am making, the point I am making is about how careful we have to be about barristers having noise or bustle preventing them from working. It is certainly not the case in Middle Temple, is it?

(Colonel Hills) It is not, but Middle Temple has a completely different form of governance from the way that Lincoln's Inn is managed. Lincoln's Inn has a Council of Benchers which is supported by a Barristers Representation Committee. We have a Gardens Committee which imposes huge restrictions that are not applied in Middle Temple. The reason for that is because the barristers on the Committee and the benchers on that Committee feel that they cannot put up with that disruption. I have even had people at lunch time ringing me up and telling me there were children in the garden and it is only adults that are allowed there. In fact, there is no such rule, but they complain at the slightest bit of noise which disrupts their concentration.

 2181. Your case is that Lincoln's Inn barristers should be treated different from the rest of the bar?

(Colonel Hills) No, my case is that Lincoln's Inn barristers have a right to the peace and tranquillity which they seek and they have paid for in their rent.

 2182. Gray`s Inn is the next document on page two. They have a marquee up for the summer, do they not?

(Colonel Hills) Yes, for a month.

 2183. In an area where there are barristers` chambers?

(Colonel Hills) Indeed, but I do not think where they put their marquee up is as close to the barristers` chambers as it is on Lincoln's Inn on the north lawn.

 2184. That is not the case we are debating, we are debating the proximity of Lincoln's Inns Fields, are we not?

(Colonel Hills) Indeed, we are.

 2185. Can you go to page three. That is the sort of numbers of people that can resort. "Our elegant marquee offers endless opportunities for private and corporate summer events, from a dinner dance for 250 guests to a Mediterranean barbeque for 600 guests". Those are the sort of numbers. Is that consistent with your experience discussing with Under Treasurer of Gray's Inn.

(Colonel Hills) I have never discussed the use of the gardens with the Under Treasurer of Gray`s Inn.

 2186. Over the page we can get some feel for the cost, it is similar to figures we have had already. "Hire of the walks and marquee from £3,400". There is nothing more on that document. Battersea Park, I am not going to trouble you with it except for one area since it is in the clip. I am going to ask you to turn to page 13, which are Noise Levels. You have raised your noise concerns and this is a noise level standard which is set. Point 17.1 on page 13: "The hirer shall ensure that the event remains within acceptable noise levels". Just to be clear, this is the contract for the hire of Battersea Park, the Wandsworth contract from their website. "Advice may be sought from the Council's Environmental Services Division. If noise levels are exceeded and deemed to be a nuisance, the hirer shall be required to reduce the noise to acceptable levels. The hirer shall pay particular attention to noise nuisance as a result of base amplitude. As a general rule, the sound level shall not exceed 75dB(A) when measured ten metres from the event site. If levels of noise continue to be a nuisance after the hirer has been warned by either the parks police, OIC or the Council's Environmental Service Division, then the source of noise shall be shut down. In serious cases of noise nuisance, a notice may be served under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 on the hirer. This can lead to a fine of up to £20,000 being levied by a court following a successful prosecution" et cetera. Would noise restrictions of that sort put your mind at rest?

(Colonel Hills) I am not sure I can agree to that because I am instructed by the benchers of the Inn to proceed on the basis that they do not think the 1894 Act needs amending. However, having said that, clearly there has got to be some give and take. I am afraid, I cannot identify how noisy 75dB (A) is, and I do not know what is an acceptable noise level. Noise affects different people in different ways. If one must accept a compromise, which I think may well be the case, one needs to agree an acceptable noise level.

 2187. I understand the point.

(Colonel Hills) I am concerned, particularly in the case of the events which have taken place in the past, that there was no Camden official on site throughout the events, they left them to the events organisers. When something happened at night, at half past ten when the noise got too loud, the only person you could get in touch with was the duty manager of Fortesqueue's because I tried.

 2188. I think you touched a nerve with Mr Stanton because I think he would say different on that. I am not going to debate that with you. Would it put your mind at rest if there was some presence of a noise officer or an environmental health officer at the relevant times?

(Colonel Hills) Assuming there is a compromise, I would say there would have to be. If you are going to run an event, you have to have somebody who is in charge, and somebody in charge has to be there throughout because otherwise there is no one to go to to get things turned down. That is why within Lincoln's Inn, even if it is an outside hirer with their own catering, we insist on three members of staff being present which they pay for.

 2189. CHAIRMAN: Mr Clarkson, can I ask you whether you have many more questions for the witness because we could break now or we could let you continue to finish?

 2190. MR CLARKSON: Can I complete this document, my Lord Chairman. It is only going to take a minute, no more, it is the same exercise. If we go on to page 24, Coram's Fields. We have looked at that before with the Committee. I do not know whether you have any information about Coram's Fields?

(Colonel Hills) I have met the clerk who runs Coram's Fields. He mentioned to me that he does these events. Coram's Fields is privately owned and is dealt with rather differently.

 2191. They use events for 720 people or so, 1,200 people, as the vehicle for funding their Fields, do they not?

(Colonel Hills): I am not aware of how they raise their funds, but certainly as a charity they have to raise money somehow.

 2192. And the last page, just for completeness, so that Gray's and Middle Temple are not out on a limb, we can see a photograph of a marquee with people milling around, "parties up to 600" the text says, and various Chambers just in the background, is that fair?

(Colonel Hills): That is fair, yes.

 2193. MR CLARKSON: My Lord Chairman, that is a convenient moment.

 2194. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, and you will be returning to this witness will you, Mr Clarkson?

 2195. MR CLARKSON: Yes, please, but not for much longer, but I do have a few more questions.

 2196. CHAIRMAN: We will have a break for ten minutes.

After a short break

 2197. CHAIRMAN: Mr Clarkson.

 2198. MR CLARKSON: Colonel Hills, films: where do they park their vehicles when they are filming in Lincoln's Inn?

(Colonel Hills): There are two places where they park, one is within the Inn itself which is when they are involved in filming and the ancillary vehicles are parked in the street immediately outside Lincoln's Inn.

 2199. The Committee inspected on Wednesday and there were vehicles parked; were they typical of what is required for filming in Lincoln's Inn?

(Colonel Hills): Not necessarily, it depends on the films being made. Those ones that were parked there between Monday and Thursday were not filming in Lincoln's Inn.


 
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