A MUSEUM which wants an extension to its booze licence has a fight on its hands from people who remember "pandemonium" when 20,000 jerk chicken fans descended on the premises in 2009.

Hungry masses flocked to the Horniman Museum event, craving a taste of the spicy Caribbean food and tempted by the appearance of Reggae Reggae Sauce founder Levi Roots and kids' TV favourite Floella Benjamin.

But the Forest Hill museum has pledged people will not see scenes like those again, after it was claimed that roads were gridlocked, cars were parked in residents' drives, and people brawled in the streets over spaces.

Scores of residents have written objection letters to Lewisham Council over new licence plans, one even claiming: "During the festival there were numerous, quite appalling instances of visitors urinating and defecating in residents' front gardens."

David Lister, 67 of Sydenham Rise, told News Shopper chaos was caused by the museum's lack of parking facilities.

He said: "The jerk festival was pandemonium.

"People were just tearing parking tickets up and throwing them in the air.

"I had to cancel my family coming to dinner because people had parked in my drive.

"There were even cars on the lawn."

Other people have raised concerns about drunks roaming the streets.

Adrian Chen, of Rocombe Crescent, wrote to the council saying: "We do not wish this to be turned into a mini Glastonbury."

If the application is approved at a licensing committee on Wednesday (April 25), the museum and gardens will be allowed to provide alcohol at its shop, cafe and events, along with providing entertainment for up to 15,000 people.

The museum's current alcohol hours vary from event to event, with things like weddings having booze served until 11pm.

The new application would see a blanket extension to 11.30pm every night.

"No large events"

A spokesman for the Horniman said: "Our current licence is complex in terms of the different hours for which different activities are licensed, and we now need to update it to include our new Gardens Pavilion which will sometimes be used for licensable activities.

"Typically over the last decade our larger events have attracted 5,000 to 10,000 people over the course of the day.

"We have had experience of one very large scale event in the summer of 2009 which we believe was too large for our site and facilities.

"We have no intention of staging such very large scale events in the future.

"We are not planning events attracting over 10,000 in the course of the day, but we have applied for up to 14,999 on site to ensure that just a few people over this target do not put us in breach of our licence."

They added: "When we arrange large scale events the Horniman Museum always directs visitors towards using public transport, while pointing out that there is only limited public parking available in the area surrounding the museum."