Festival could spell disaster for tourism

A SEAHOUSES holiday let owner has said that a proposed music festival at Springhill could be a ‘disaster’ for the local tourist trade and hit the village hard in the long term.

At a special meeting of North Sunderland Parish Council last Thursday, Robert Baddeley said he had blocked off the two weeks around the proposed festival, which would take place from August 30 to September 3 this year, to avoid being sued by disappointed holidaymakers.

Mr Baddeley, who lives at St Aidan’s and has a holiday let to the rear of the property, told the meeting that he would not have tourists staying over the two weeks around the proposed festival because of fears that he could be sued if their holiday was disrupted by noise from the festival and other associated problems.

Mr Baddeley said: “I don’t want people suing us for having a poor holiday. We’ve lost two weeks’ income because of this festival.”

Mr Baddeley also warned that some holidaymakers who did come over the weekend of the festival, unaware of it taking place, would not return.

“People will never come back to Seahouses again,” he said. “It could be a disaster for the tourist trade.”

If given the green light, the setting-up of the festival could run over the bank holiday in August, before the three days of the festival itself the next weekend.

Coun Tom Orrin said: “They couldn’t have picked a worse fortnight, it is when people in Seahouses make their living.”

He added later: “People will be coming along expecting the usual Seahouses and we don’t know what they will be getting.”

The meeting, held to come up with objections to the licence application by Nightwatch Ltd for the festival, was attended by around 30 residents.

The application seeks a licence which would run from August 30, 2012, to September 8, 2014, with entertainment from noon until 5am on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with alcohol for sale for 23 hours and 59 minutes each day.

At the meeting, serious concerns were expressed about noise from the site, with one resident suggesting it could travel 10 miles.

Coun Sylvia Hillan said: “I’ve heard of people who booked holidays for this year that are not going now because they don’t want to leave their properties empty.”

Coun Orrin said that due to the lack of detailed information in the licence application, including in terms of what bands would play at the festival, it made it difficult to judge what it would be like.

A list of concerns were compiled, including drugs; increased number of people on the beach; people using the beach and dunes as toilets; loss of business income; distress to animals and livestock,; noise and light pollution and impact on neighbours.

Representations on the application must be received by Northumberland County Council by Sunday, January 22.