Music festival bid gets cold-shoulder

A BID to hold a 15,000-capacity music festival in north Northumberland has been turned down over public safety fears.

Nightwatch Ltd had applied for a premises licence for Multigroove Festival, to take place at Springhill Farm near Seahouses from Thursday, August 30, to Monday, September 3, this year as well as in 2013 and 2014.

At the licensing hearing last Tuesday, the proposal faced strong opposition from residents and Northumbria Police, who were primarily concerned about policing the ‘inaccessible site’ and road issues.

And yesterday, Jeff Watson, chairman of Northumberland County Council’s licensing sub-committee, announced they had rejected the application ‘on the basis that it is not possible to impose conditions that address their concerns and the objections raised which would promote the licensing objectives particularly in relation to public safety’.

Coun Pat Scott, ward member for Bamburgh said: “I am very pleased for the residents. I was concerned that we weren’t going to get any community benefit out of this and it was going to cause a lot of disruption.

“The concept of some kind of music festival for Northumberland is a good one, but it was the wrong place.”

Tom Dent, who represented Seahouses residents at the hearing, said: “I’m pleased that common sense has prevailed. The site is just not appropriate for that sort of event.

“We were concerned that the very nature of the economy of Seahouses would be put at risk.

“There were deep concerns about the road infrastructure and equally the potential use of the beach and the fact that we are an area of outstanding natural beauty is something we wanted to protect.”

Coun Watson said: “The members of the licensing sub-committee carefully considered all of the written and verbal submissions presented to them before arriving at their decision to refuse to grant a licence. If the applicant is unhappy with the decision they may appeal to the magistrates’ court.”

The appeal period is 21 days, which starts when the formal decision notice has been issued to all parties.