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Byelaws for pleasure grounds, public walks and open spaces

Arrangement of byelaws

Part 1

General

1. General interpretation

2. Application

3. Opening times 

Part 2

Protection of the ground, its wildlife and the public

4. Protection of structures and plants

5. Unauthorised erection of structures

6. Climbing

7. Grazing

8. Protection of wildlife

9. Gates

10.  Camping

11. Fires

12. Missiles

13. Interference with life-saving equipment 

Part 3

Horses, cycles and vehicles

14. Interpretation of Part 3

15. Horses

16. Cycling

17. Motor vehicles

18. Overnight parking 

Part 4

Play areas, games and sports

19. Interpretation of Part 4

20. Children’s play apparatus

21. Skateboarding, etc

22. Ball games

23. Ball games

24. Cricket

25. Archery

26. Field sports

27. Golf 

Part 5

Waterways

28. Interpretation of Part 5

29. Bathing

30. Ice skating

31. Model boats

32. Boats

33. Fishing

34. Blocking of watercourses 

Part 6

Model Aircraft

35. Interpretation of Part 6

36. Model aircraft 

Part 7

Other regulated activities

37. Provision of services

38. Excessive noise

39. Public shows and performances

40. Aircraft, hang-gliders and hot air balloons

41. Kites

42. Metal detectors 

Part 8

Miscellaneous

43. Obstruction

44. Savings

45. Removal of offenders

46. Penalty

47. Revocation

SCHEDULE 1 - Grounds to which byelaws apply generally

SCHEDULE 2 - Grounds referred to in certain byelaws

SCHEDULE 3 - Rules for playing ball games in designated areas


Byelaws made under section 15 of the Open Spaces Act 1906 and sections 12 and 15 of the Open Spaces Act 1906 by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets with respect to pleasure grounds, public walks and open spaces. 

Part 1

General

General Interpretation

1. In these byelaws: 
“the Council” means the London Borough of Tower Hamlets; 

“the ground” means any of the grounds listed in the Schedule; 

“designated area” means an area in the ground which is set aside for a specified purpose, that area and its purpose to be indicated by notices placed in a conspicuous position; 

“invalid carriage” means a vehicle, whether mechanically propelled or not,

(a)  the unladen weight of which does not exceed 150 kilograms,             
(b) the width of which does not exceed 0.85 metres, and
(c) which has been constructed or adapted for use for the carriage of a person suffering from a disability, and used solely by such a person. 

Application

2. These byelaws apply to all of the grounds listed in Schedule 1 unless otherwise stated.

Opening times           

3. (1) No person shall enter or remain in the ground except during opening hours.

(2)  “Opening hours” means the days and times during which the ground is open to the public and which are indicated by a notice placed in a conspicuous position at the entrance to the ground. 

(3) Byelaw 3(1) applies only to the grounds listed in Schedule 2. 

Part 2 

Protection of the ground, its wildlife and the public 

Protection of structures and plants 

4. (1) No person shall without reasonable excuse remove from or displace within the ground

(a) any barrier, post, seat or implement, or any part of a structure or ornament provided for use in the laying out or maintenance of the ground; or 

(b) any stone, soil or turf or the whole or any part of any plant, shrub or tree.     

(2) No person shall walk on or ride, drive or station a horse or any vehicle over:

(a) any flower bed, shrub or plant;

(b) any ground in the course of preparation as a flower bed or for the growth of any     tree, shrub or plant; or 

(c) any part of the ground set aside by the Council for the renovation of turf or for other landscaping purposes and indicated by a notice conspicuously displayed. 

Unauthorised erection of structures 

5. No person shall without the consent of the Council erect any barrier, post, ride or swing, building or any other structure. 

Climbing 

6. No person shall without reasonable excuse climb any wall or fence in or enclosing the ground, or any tree, or any barrier, railing, post or other structure. 

Grazing 

7. No person shall without the consent of the Council turn out or permit any animal for which he is responsible to graze in the ground. 

Protection of wildlife 

8. No person shall kill, injure, take or disturb any animal, or engage in hunting or shooting or the setting of traps or the laying of snares. 

(1) Feeding of wild life (e.g. pigeons, squirrels, rats) is prohibited unless with the expressed permission of the local authority, at which permission is given for feeding of ducks. 

Gates 

9. (1) No person shall leave open any gate to which this byelaw applies and which he has opened or caused to be opened. 

(2) Byelaw 9(1) applies to any gate to which is attached, or near to which is displayed, a conspicuous notice stating that leaving the gate open is prohibited. 

Camping 

10. No person shall without the consent of the Council erect a tent or use a vehicle, caravan or any other structure for the purpose of camping except in a designated area for camping. 

Fires 

11. (1) No person shall light a fire or place, throw or drop a lighted match or any other thing likely to cause a fire.
(2) Byelaw 11(1) shall not apply to: 

(a) the lighting of a fire at any event for which the Council has given permission that fires may be lit. 

(b) The lighting or use, in such a manner as to safeguard against damage or danger to any person, of a properly constructed camping stove, in a designated area for camping, or of a properly constructed barbecue, in a designated area for barbecues. 

Missiles           

12. No person shall throw or use any device to propel or discharge in the ground any object which is liable to cause injury to any other person. 

Interference with life-saving equipment 

13. No person shall except in case of emergency remove from or displace within the ground or otherwise tamper with any life-saving appliance provided by the Council. 

Part 3

Horses, cycles and vehicles

Interpretation of Part 3 

14. In this Part:

“designated route” means a route in or through the ground which is set aside for a specified purpose, its route and that purpose to be indicated by notices placed in a conspicuous position;

“motor cycle” means a mechanically-propelled vehicle, not being an invalid carriage, with less than four wheels and the weight of which does not exceed 410 kilograms;

“motor vehicle” means any mechanically-propelled vehicle other than a motor cycle or an invalid carriage;

“trailer” means a vehicle drawn by a motor vehicle and includes a caravan. 

Horses 

15. (1) No person shall ride a horse except in the exercise of a lawful right or privilege. 

(2) Where horse-riding is permitted by virtue of a lawful right or privilege, no person shall ride a horse in such a manner as to cause danger to any other person. 

Cycling

16. No person shall without reasonable excuse ride a cycle in the ground except in any part of the ground where there is a right of way for cycles or on a designated route for cycling, nor in such a way which may endanger the public. 

Motor vehicles          

17. (1) No person shall without reasonable excuse bring into or drive in the ground a motor cycle, motor vehicle or trailer except in any part of the ground where there is a right of way or a designated route for that class of vehicle. 

(2) Where there is a designated route for motor cycles, motor vehicles or trailers, it shall not be an offence under this byelaw to bring into or drive in the ground a vehicle of that class for the sole purpose of transporting it to the route.           

Overnight parking          

18. No person shall without the consent of the Council leave or cause or permit to be left any motor vehicle in the ground between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. 

Part 4

Play areas, games and sports

Interpretation of Part 4

19. In this Part: 

“ball games” means any game involving throwing, catching, kicking, batting or running with any ball or other object designed for throwing and catching, but does not include cricket;

“self-propelled vehicle” means a vehicle other than a cycle, invalid carriage or pram which is propelled by the weight or force of one or more persons skating, sliding or riding on the vehicle or by one or more persons pulling or pushing the vehicle. 

Children’s play apparatus 

20. No person aged over 11 years shall use any apparatus stated to be for the exclusive use of persons aged 11 years and under by a notice conspicuously displayed on or near the apparatus or entrance(s) of the parks and open spaces. 

Skateboarding, etc 

21. No person shall skate, slide or ride on rollers, skateboards or other self-propelled vehicles in such a manner as to cause danger or give reasonable grounds for annoyance to other persons.           

Ball games

 22. No person shall play ball games outside a designated area for playing ball games in such a manner: 

(a) as to exclude persons not playing ball games from use of that part;
(b) as to cause danger or give reasonable grounds for annoyance to any other person in the ground; or
(c) which is likely to cause damage to any tree, shrub or plant in the ground. 

23. It is an offence for any person using a designated area for playing ball games to break any of the rules set out in Schedule 3 and conspicuously displayed on a sign in the designated area when asked by any person to desist from breaking those rules. 

Cricket 

24. No person shall throw or strike a cricket ball with a bat except in a designated area for playing cricket.

Archery

25. No person shall engage in the sport of archery except in connection with an event organised by or held with the consent of the Council.

Field sports

26. No person shall throw or put any javelin, hammer, discus or shot except in connection with an event organised by or held with the consent of the Council or on land set aside by the Council for that purpose.

Golf

27. No person shall drive, chip or pitch a hard golf ball.

Part 5 

Waterways

Interpretation of Part 5 

28. In this Part:

“boat” means any yacht, motor boat or similar craft but not a model or toy boat;

"power-driven” means driven by the combustion of petrol vapour or other combustible substances;

“waterway” means any river, lake, pool or other body of water and includes any fountain.

Bathing

29. No person shall without reasonable excuse bathe or swim in any waterway except in a designated area for bathing and swimming. 

Ice skating

30. No person shall step onto or otherwise place their weight upon any frozen waterway.

Model boats

31. No person shall operate a power-driven model boat on any waterway except in a designated area for model boats.

Boats

32. No person shall sail or operate any boat, dinghy, canoe, sailboard or inflatable on any waterway without the consent of the Council except in a designated area for the sailing or operation of boats. 

Fishing 

33. No person shall in any waterway cast a net or line for the purpose of catching fish or other animals except in a designated area for fishing and with prior consent of the Council and in accordance with the rules governing such consent. 

Blocking of watercourses 

34. No person shall cause or permit the flow of any drain or watercourse in the ground to be obstructed, diverted, open or shut or otherwise move or operate any sluice or similar apparatus. 

Part 6 

Model aircraft

Interpretation of Part 6 

35. In this Part: 

“model aircraft” means an aircraft which weighs not more than 7 kilograms without its fuel;

“power-driven” means driven by:

(a) the combustion of petrol vapour or other combustible substances;

(b) jet propulsion or by means of a rocket, other than by means of a small reaction motor powered by a solid fuel pellet not exceeding 2.54 centimetres in length; or

(c) one or more electric motors or by compressed gas.

“radio control” means control by a radio signal from a wireless transmitter or similar device.

General prohibition

 36. No person shall cause any power-driven model aircraft to:

(a) take off or otherwise be released for flight or control the flight of such an aircraft in the ground; or

(b) land in the ground without reasonable excuse. 

Part 7

Other regulated activities

Provision of services

37. No person shall without the consent of the Council provide or offer to provide any service for which a charge is made. 

Excessive noise

38. (1) No person shall, after being requested to desist by any other person in the ground, make or permit to be made any noise which is so loud or so continuous or repeated as to give reasonable cause for annoyance to other persons in the ground by:

(a) shouting or singing;

(b) playing on a musical instrument; or

(c) by operating or permitting to be operated any radio, amplifier, tape recorder or similar device.

(2) Byelaw 38(1) does not apply to any person holding or taking part in any entertainment held with the consent of the Council. 

Public shows and performances

 39. No person shall without the consent of the Council hold or take part in any public show or performance. 

Aircraft, hang gliders and hot air balloons

40. No person shall except in case of emergency or with the consent of the Council take off from or land in the ground in an aircraft, helicopter, hang glider or hot air balloon.

Kites 

41. No person shall fly any kite in such a manner as to cause danger or give reasonable grounds for annoyance to any other person. 

Metal detectors

 42. No person shall without the consent of the Council use any device designed or adapted for detecting or locating any metal or mineral in the ground. 

Part 8 

Miscellaneous 

Obstruction 

43. No person shall obstruct:

(a) any officer of the Council in the proper execution of his duties;

(b) any person carrying out an act which is necessary to the proper execution of any contract with the Council; or

(c) any other person in the proper use of the ground. 

Savings

44. (1)It shall not be an offence under these byelaws for an officer of the Council or any person acting in accordance with a contract with the Council to do anything necessary to the proper execution of his duty. 

(2) Nothing in or done under these byelaws shall in any respect prejudice or injuriously affect any public right of way through the ground, or the rights of any person acting lawfully by virtue of some estate, right or interest in, over or affecting the ground or any part of the ground. 

Removal of offenders

45. Any person offending against any of these byelaws may be removed from the ground by an officer of the Council or a constable. 

Penalty 

46. Any person offending against any of these byelaws shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale. 

Revocation 

47. The Byelaws made by the Greater London Council on 1 November 1932 (in operation as from and including 1 April 1933) and confirmed by the Secretary of State for the Home Office on 20 March 1933, 15 June 1936, 6 May 1938, 12 February and 16 July 1952, 18 March and 17 April 1953, 13 September and 29 December 1954, and 9 June and 29 November 1955 relating to the following grounds are hereby revoked: 

  • Bartlet Park (12 September 1961) (now known as Bartlett Park)
  • Bethnal Green Gardens
  • Grove Hall Park
  • Ion Square (11 May 1964)
  • Island Gardens
  • King Edward Memorial Park
  • King George’s Fields (a part of what is now known as Mile End Park)
  • Langdon Park (12 July 1963)
  • Limehouse Churchyard (now known as St Anne’s Churchyard)
  • Meath Gardens
  • Millwall Recreation Ground (e) renamed Millwall Park (16 December 1952)
  • Rope Walk Gardens (2 September 1960)
  • Shandy Park (14 December 1959)
  • Stepney Green (23 May 1963)
  • Stepney Churchyard (now known as St. Dunstan’s Churchyard)
  • Victoria Park
  • Wapping Recreation Ground (h) renamed Wapping Gardens (16 December 1952)
  • Weaver’s Fields (12 July 1963)

Schedules

Schedule 1

Grounds to which byelaws apply

The grounds referred to in byelaw 2 are: 

  • Aberfeldy Millennium Green
  • Ackroyd Drive Open Space
  • Albert Gardens
  • All Saints Churchyard
  • Allen Gardens
  • Altab Ali Park
  • Alton Street Open Space
  • Approach Road/Old Ford Road Open Space
  • Arbour Square
  • Archibald Public Open Space
  • Bartlett Park
  • Baxendale Street Gardens
  • Beaumont Square Gardens
  • Belgrave Street Open Space
  • Bethnal Green Gardens
  • Bonner Hall Gate
  • Boundary Gardens
  • Braithwaite
  • Bromley Recreation Ground
  • Brussels Wharf Slipway
  • Canrobert Street Open Space
  • Cantrell Road Open Space
  • Carlton Square and Gardens
  • Carron and Continental Wharf
  • Castor Lane / Poplar High Street
  • Cavell Street Gardens
  • Chicksand Street Open Space (Chicksand Ghat)
  • Christchurch Gardens
  • Cotton Street / Bazely Street
  • Devons Road Ambulance Station - Grass Verge
  • Dockers Tanner Road Open Space
  • Fern Street Open Space
  • Ford Square
  • Furze Green
  • Glamis Adventure Playground
  • Globe Road Open Space
  • Gosling Gardens
  • Great Eastern Slipway
  • Grove Hall Park
  • Hellings Street
  • Hermitage Basin
  • Ion Square Gardens
  • Island Gardens
  • Jesus Green
  • Johnson's Drawdock
  • Jolly's Green
  • King Edward Memorial Park
  • Kings Wharf
  • Langdon Park
  • Leven Road Open Space
  • London Yard
  • Mallon Gardens
  • Marsh Wall / East Ferry Road
  • Mast House Terrace Play Area
  • Meath Gardens
  • Mellish Street Open Space
  • Mercers Burial Ground
  • Middleton Green
  • Mile End Park
  • Millwall Outer Dock
  • Millwall Park
  • Mudchute Park and Farm
  • Museum Gardens
  • Paradise Gardens
  • Pennyfields Open Space
  • Pollard Square
  • Poplar High Street / Preston's Road
  • Poplar Parkway
  • Poplar Recreation Ground
  • Prospect Park
  • Raines Mansions
  • Ravenscroft Park
  • Rectory Gardens
  • Rhoda Street Open Space
  • Ropemakers Fields
  • Ropewalk Gardens
  • Rounton Road Open Space
  • Royal Mint Square
  • Schoolhouse Lane Open Space (Schoolhouse Kickabout Area)
  • Selwyn Green
  • Shacklewell Street Playground (Shacklewell Street Ball Games Area and 1 O'Clock Club)
  • Shadwell Basin
  • Shadwell Upper Lock
  • Shandy Park
  • Sidney Square Gardens
  • Silvocea Wharf
  • Sir John McDougal Gardens
  • Spitalfields Farm
  • St Anne’s Churchyard (Limehouse Churchyard)
  • St Bartholomew’s Gardens
  • St Dunstan's Churchyard
  • St George's in the East
  • St James’ Gardens
  • St Johns Gardens (St John’s Churchyard)
  • St John’s Park
  • St Mary's Churchyard (Bow Churchyard)
  • St Matthew’s Church Gardens
  • St Matthias Church Garden
  • Stepney City Farm
  • Stepney Clock Tower
  • Stepney Green Gardens
  • Stepney Green Park
  • Stonebridge Wharf
  • Stoneyard Lane Open Space
  • Swedenborg Gardens
  • The Greenway
  • The Oval
  • Three Colt Street / Mitre Site
  • Three Mill Lane Walkway
  • Tobacco Dock
  • Tower Hamlets Cemetery
  • Trafalgar Gardens
  • Tredegar Square
  • Trinity Gardens
  • Trinity Square Gardens
  • Twelvetrees Crescent
  • Vallance Road Gardens
  • Vaughan Way Open Space
  • Victoria Park
  • Virginia Gardens
  • Wapping Gardens
  • Wapping Green
  • Wapping Rose Gardens
  • Wapping Wood Canal
  • Wapping Woods
  • Warner Green Open Space
  • Waterside Gardens
  • Watney Street Open Space
  • Weavers Fields
  • Western Dock Canal
  • West India Dock Road Open Space
  • White Horse Lane Open Space
  • White Horse Road Park
  • Wyvis Street Open Space
  • York Square Gardens

Schedule 2

Grounds referred to in certain byelaws

Opening times (byelaw 3 (1)) 

The grounds referred to in byelaw 3 (1) are:

  • Albert Gardens
  • All Saints Churchyard
  • Arbour Square Gardens
  • Beaumont Square Gardens
  • Bethnal Green Gardens
  • Carlton Square Garden
  • Cavell Street Gardens
  • Ford Square
  • Grove Hall Park
  • King Edward Memorial Park
  • Mast House Terrace Play Area
  • Museum Gardens
  • Paradise Gardens
  • Poplar Recreation Ground
  • Prospect Park
  • Selwyn Green
  • Sidney Square Gardens
  • St Anne’s Churchyard (Limehouse Churchyard)
  • St Bartholomew’s Gardens
  • St George’s in the East
  • St Mary's Churchyard (Bow Churchyard)
  • St Matthew’s Church Gardens
  • Stepney Green Gardens
  • Tower Hamlets Cemetery
  • Tredegar Square
  • Trinity Gardens
  • Victoria Park
  • Wapping Gardens
  • Wapping Rose Gardens
  • Weavers Fields
  • York Square Gardens 

Opening times are dawn until dusk.

Schedule 3

Rules for playing ball games in designated areas (byelaw 23)

Any person using a designated area for playing ball games is required by byelaw 23 to comply with the following rules:

(1)  No person shall play any game other than those ball games for which the designated area has been set aside.

(2)  No person shall obstruct any other person who is playing in accordance with these rules.

(3)  Where exclusive use of the designated area has been granted to a person or group of persons by the Council for a specified period, no other person shall play in that area during that period.

(4)  Subject to paragraph (5), where the designated area is already in use by any person, any other person wishing to play in that area must seek their permission to do so.

(5)  Except where they have been granted exclusive use of the designated area for more than two hours by the Council, any person using that area shall vacate it if they have played continuously for two hours or more and any other person wishes to use that area.

(6)  No person shall play in the designated area when a notice has been placed in a conspicuous position by the Council prohibiting play in that area.

Consultation

An email consisting of a copy of the New Byelaws and an explanation of the Council’s intention to update its Parks Byelaws was sent to the following organisations:

  • The Crown Estates
  • The Diocese of London
  • Friends of Mile End Park
  • Friends of Victoria Park
  • The Friends of Arnold Circus
  • The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
  • The Friends of Weavers Fields
  • Mudchute Park and Farm
  • Spitalfields City Farm
  • Stepney City Farm
  • British Model Flying Association
  • National Council for Metal Detecting
  • The Department for Culture, Media and Sport
  • Tower Hamlets Wheelers
  • Tower Hamlets Transport Sub Group 

Acknowledgments of receipt of the document but no comments were received from the Department of Media, Culture and Sport.  Friends of Mile End Park, Spitalfield’s City Farm, Stepney City Farm and the Diocese of London suggested comments to the New Byelaws. Friends of Weavers Field and the National Council for Metal Detecting confirmed that they did not have any comments.  There were no responses received from the other organisations.