LICENSING chiefs have given the go-ahead for another giant music festival at Daresbury, near Warrington.
But Halton Council has approved proposals for the controversial Creamfields festival for one year only – not the three years the event organisers had hoped for.
They have also imposed a condition that the organisers must verify the numbers of people attending the two-day event over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The licensing hearing lasted five hours at Runcorn Town Hall, finishing after 11.30pm – largely due to objections from representatives of about 160 nearby residents.
Creamfields had originally indicated they were seeking a permanent licence, which would have meant there would be no need for further annual applications.
They amended their application to seek a three-year licence but councillors – after hearing of changes in the layout for the festival, including a new position for the main stand – decided to grant the licence for this year only.
Creamfields applied for a maximum attendance of 29,999 – a reduction of 10,000 compared with last year. But councillors still insisted the figure be verified.
The festival was originally held in Liverpool but since 2006 has been on open land at Daresbury – much of it in the ownership of 55-year-old Lord Peter Daresbury, former chairman of the De Vere hotel chain.
Last year marked the 10th anniversary of the event – and was the first to span two days.
Each year there have been numerous complaints from nearby residents of noise, traffic problems, litter, anti-social behaviour and general disturbance.
Hundreds of police have been drafted in to control traffic and events within the festival site. Numerous arrests have been made for drug offences, assault, theft, etc and many revellers have ended up in the accident and emergency department of Warrington Hospital.
This year, members of a neighbourhood action group set up by residents of Daresbury, Walton, Stretton and Appleton joined Warrington Borough Council in lodging objections to the granting of a permanent licence.
One resident said: “In a sense we have won, in that the licence has been granted for only one year. But it is something of a hollow victory in that really we do not think Daresbury is a suitable location for a festival of this kind anyway.”
Paul Barlow, one of the organisers of the action group said: “The decision is in no way satisfactory. The council has ignored the feelings of 160 residents.
“We believe this is the wrong place to hold an event like this.”
Many local residents go away for the weekend to escape the noise and distruption. But others stay at home for fear of their homes being burgled by a criminal element among the revellers. Some householders barricade their homes and gardens to keep intruders out.
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