Agenda item

Application for New Premises Licence for Stone Valley South, Hillside Farm, Hillside Lane, Great Amwell, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 9SH


The Chairman outlined the procedure to be followed.  All those present were introduced.  The Service Manager (Licensing and Enforcement) summarised the application made under the Licensing Act 2003 for a festival called ‘Stone Valley South’ to take place at the venue in fields adjacent to Hillside Farm, Hillside Lane, Great Amwell.


He detailed the licensable activities being sought by the applicant as part of a request for a new premises licence from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th May 2019.


The Sub-Committee was advised that representations had been received from the Police and from Environmental Health as Responsible Authorities and 35 representations had also been received from interested parties.  The representations included concerns that this application would undermine all 4 of the licensing objectives.


The Service Manager stated that 10 comments had been received in support of the application.  Following an amendment to the application, including changing the event to a time limited licence for one year, Environmental Health had withdrawn their representations.  Members were advised that negotiations had been ongoing right up until the day of this Sub-Committee hearing.


The Sub-Committee was advised that the traffic management plan was evolving and it was for Hertfordshire County Council to judge whether the plan was adequate and appropriate.  The event would not go ahead if the traffic management plan was not agreed.  The traffic management plan would serve to prevent unreasonable traffic impact and keep people safe.


At this point, the Chairman commented on the prevention of public nuisance and public safety.  The Applicant’s legal representative stated that the applicant had 9 years’ experience and was a very experienced licensing operator.  The applicant was content to sign up to the police conditions endorsing the event management plan.  This event was for this year only and the applicant wished to run the event in a way that did not result in crime and disorder or undermine public safety.


In respect of the Parish Council objections, the Applicant’s legal representative confirmed that very strict measures would be in effect and no alcohol would be allowed to be taken off site and only limited amounts were permitted in the campsite area.  Members were advised that a zero tolerance policy towards drugs and psychoactive substances, also known as ‘legal highs’, would be in effect and all of this would be managed by Security Industry Authority (SIA) licensed security staff.


The Sub-Committee was assured that children at the nearby school would be safe from harm as it was unlikely that there would be any interaction between the children and those arriving to attend the festival.


The Applicant’s legal representative advised that litter would not affect the wider community as litter management would be in effect on the site and the site would be restored to its original condition after the festival.  The issue of noise nuisance had been resolved with Environmental Health and this objection had been withdrawn.


The Applicant’s legal representative explained that maximum sound levels had been agreed with Environmental Health and a very experienced sound consultant had been working with the applicant.  The Sub-Committee was advised that a noise complaints hotline would be in place for the Stone Valley South festival weekend.


The Sub-Committee was also advised that very strict sound curfews would be in effect after 11 pm for the campsite area and after 12 midnight for the interior of the festival site.  The Solicitor concluded that sales of alcohol would cease at 11 pm and all other licensable activity would cease at 12 midnight.


Mr Robson, a former Durham Police Licensing Officer, detailed his career and experience.  He stated that the application should be judged on its own merits and advised that similar Stone Valley Festivals had been managed in an exemplary manner.  Mr Robson further advised that the operation of this festival would not in any way, undermine the 4 licensing objectives and total consideration had been given to preventing the objectives from being undermined.


PC Simon Mullen, Hertfordshire Constabulary, summarised the police concerns and referred to a number of agreed conditions following discussions with the applicant.  He stated that the event should not go ahead if an agreed traffic management plan was not in place as part of the event management plan.  He referred to the need for condition 12 to be amended to reinforce the importance of this plan being submitted prior to the event.


The Chairman of Great Amwell Parish Council referred to the prevention of public nuisance with the Stone Valley South site being in close proximity to a quiet village residential area.  He expressed concerns in respect of noise disturbance from a large number of people arriving at and camping in this location.  He also expressed concerns regarding crime and disorder being controlled on site and outside of the festival location.


The Parish Council expressed reservations in respect of Public Safety in terms of the traffic impact on the already busy highway due to the traffic entering and leaving the Van Hage Garden Centre.  The Chairman of the Parish Council expressed concerns regarding car parking problems and the parking of cars linked to this festival and an existing car boot sale being a significant issue as parking in residential streets was unenforceable as there were no double yellow lines.


The Parish Council Chairman referred to the influence of the time pressures with an application that had been submitted so late.  He concluded that this venue was inappropriate for an event of this type and scale.


Other persons, namely Mr and Mrs Ratcliffe, Mr Goding, Mr Pearce and Mr Mason raised a number of concerns including traffic, community protection, access and egress for this site and concerns that preparations were underway for the event taking place regardless of the outcomes of this Licensing Sub-Committee hearing.  Concern was also expressed that children at a nearby after school club would be affected by the start of the festival on Friday.


Councillor T Page questioned the applicant in respect of event security and the proportion of door management staff that would be SIA trained.  The applicant advised that 40 of the 60 door management staff would be SIA trained and this was in excess of a ratio of 1 member of staff per 85 festival goers.


The applicant confirmed to Councillor J Jones that 1400 people had previously attended the Stone Valley Festival, including days of camping and there had been no incidents, no reported crime or noise issues with the venue being adjacent to a 60 mph road.


Councillor J Jones commented on the numbers likely to be present at the event.  The applicant confirmed that 2,500 tickets were available and the maximum numbers permitted under the terms of the premises licence was 3,000, inclusive of all festival staff.  The Police representative confirmed to Councillor Jones that the Police were satisfied with the Event Management Plan.


At the conclusion of the closing submissions, the Sub-Committee, the Local Authority’s Legal Advisor and the Democratic Services Officer withdrew to allow Members to consider the evidence.


Following this, Members, the Local Authority’s Legal Advisor and the Democratic Services Officer returned and the Chairman announced that the Sub-Committee had listened to the comments of Officers, the applicant, the responsible authorities and residents.


Members recognised the community’s perception for the potential disturbance that could be caused by this event.  With the exception of the traffic management plan, Members were confident that sufficient mitigation was in place to ensure a successful event.


With regard to the Traffic Management Plan, the Sub-Committee was reassured by the inclusion of condition 12 of the agreed Hertfordshire Police conditions, which requires agreement with Hertfordshire Highways and Hertfordshire Police, before the event can take place.


The application was granted subject to the conditions agreed with the Police and Environmental Health with condition 12 of the Police conditions amended as follows:


12.      An external Traffic Management Plan must be submitted by 17:00 on 21 May 2019 and to be completed to the satisfaction of Hertfordshire Highways and Hertfordshire Constabulary prior to implementation.


The Sub-Committee stated that the conditions as agreed were appropriate to satisfy the 4 licensing objectives.


RESOLVED – that the application for a premises licence at Stone Valley South, Hillside Farm, Hillside Lane, Great Amwell, Ware be approved subject to the conditions agreed with Hertfordshire Constabulary and subject to an amended condition 12:


12.  An external Traffic Management Plan must be submitted by 17:00 on 21 May 2019 and to be completed to the satisfaction of Hertfordshire Highways and Hertfordshire Constabulary prior to implementation.

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