by David Skentelbery
LICENSING bosses have given the go-ahead for a significantly expanded Creamfields music festival at Daresbury, near Warrington at the end of August.
After a three-hour hearing at Runcorn Town Hall, Halton licensing chiefs decided the attendance limit could be raised from 40,000 to 59,999.
But Creamfields say in fact they will impose their own limit of 50,000 this year, 55,000 next year and 59,999 the following year, after which a further licence renewal would be required.
The site, on land owned by Lord Peter Daresbury, will be opened a day earlier for overnight campers which means it will be occupied from noon on the Friday, August 26.
The 11pm Sunday shut-off time at the end of the festival will be extended to 1am on Monday, August 29.
There were 19 representations from local parish councils, residents, individual councillors and the police - who failed in a bid to block proposals for two bars within the camping area.
Entertainment will be provided for people arriving from noon on the Friday, but it will be "silent" music - available only to fans wearing headphones.
Cllr Paul Kennedy, who represents the Hatton, Stretton and Walton area of Warrington, attended the hearing.
He expressed concern at the number of motorists likely to be leaving the site suffering from sleep deprivation and having consumed alcohol or other substances while attending the festival.
He said afterwards: "Creamfields have a good track record in terms of avoiding trouble but I hope there will be no traffic problems.
Opposition to the festival was somewhat muted this year - possibly because two local people were ordered to pay £13,500 costs last year after losing an appeal against the council's decision.