Big Kahuna music festival’s licensing bid approved

A field which is thought that it will be used for parking when people come for The Big Kahuna music festival in August. Pic Steve Robards  SR1604608 SUS-160216-150512001
A field which is thought that it will be used for parking when people come for The Big Kahuna music festival in August. Pic Steve Robards SR1604608 SUS-160216-150512001

Plans for a new music festival near Horsham cleared a major hurdle as the organiser’s licensing application was approved today (Monday April 4).

The Happy Mondays are headlining The Big Kahuna, which could see between 7,000 and 10,000 people attend the event at Holmbush Forest over this year’s August bank holiday weekend.

Fire and Ice Productions’ application, which included permission to sell alcohol and play live music, was approved by Horsham District Council’s licensing sub committee on Monday.

But after the meeting residents of Faygate and Colgate said they were ‘appalled’ and ‘disappointed’ by the decision, having raised concerns around the noise disturbance to nearby homes, traffic, and fire risk.

Sheila Marley, chairman of Colgate Parish Council, said: “We are terribly disappointed with the verdict. Why were the proposed changes not forwarded to us?”

A total of 136 people wrote or emailed the council to object to the proposals, and officers confirmed this was the most for any licensing application HDC had dealt with.

During the licensing meeting, Alasdair Adam, director of Fire and Ice Productions, said: “We have put in a lot of work to make sure we listen to concerns of residents.”

But Andrew Finnegan, who lives in Holmbush House, said they would not be able to enjoy their properties for three to four days and could have to endure an ‘unacceptable level of nuisance’.

He said they faced being ‘marooned’ in their own homes, but Mr Adam said residents should have quite easy access in and out of Holmbush House during the weekend.

Mr Finnegan said they were very worried about a business who previously organised office and Christmas parties for companies.

Mr Adam said it was their first venture into this specific area, but they had engaged a company to handle security who was involved in Brighton Pride.

Meanwhile F1 Accoustics, which would ensure that noise levels remained below the agreed limits, has worked at Glastonbury and Leeds Festival.

He contested claims that his company had a ‘poor safety record’ and explained that this report had stemmed from a operations licence for heavy vehicles, which had not been renewed in time due to the death of his transport manager.

Steve Garley, speaking on behalf of Colgate Parish Council, said they would like people visiting Faygate and Colgate but did not want to see 4,000 cars and 10,000 people turning up.

Duncan Noel-Paton, another Holmbush House resident, questioned the organiser’s claim it would be a child friendly event, suggesting that hard drinking and drug taking would not be a ‘safe environment for young people’.

But the applicant had satisfied concerns originally expressed by both the council’s environmental health officer and Sussex Police’s neighbourhood policing team.

Paul Marshall, chair of the licensing sub committee, said councillors had noted the ‘considerable public attention’ in the application, but the evidence had to be assessed against the four licensing objectives.

He read out a number of extra conditions including ensuring that tickets were only available in advance, a challenge 25 policy was implemented at the entrance to the event, DBS checks for personnel responsible for children, and the publication of the hotline number for noise complaints in the parish magazine and on the council’s website.

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