AN application is about to be submitted to licensing chiefs to significantly increase the size of the Creamfields music festival, near Warrington.
If organisers get their way, the attendance limit will be raised from 40,000 to 60,000 and the site will be opened a day earlier for overnight campers.
The 11pm Sunday shut-off time will be extended to 1am Monday and the five marquees which house stages will be increased in size to accommodate the larger audiences.
In addition, Creamfields will be seeking a five-year licence, despite the fact that the existing licence does not run out until next year.
Some form of entertainment would also be put on for people arriving from noon on the Friday.
The application for a variation on the existing licence will be put to licensing bosses at Halton Borough Council as the festival site at Daresbury is just outside the Warrington borough boundary.
Warrington is unlikely to object to the application but will express concern and seek to negotiate a reduction in the hours.
It is understood officers feel that extension of music from Sunday night to Monday morning would not be fair or reasonable for local residents.
Cllr Paul Kennedy, (pictured) who represents Hatton, Stretton and Walton – the areas nearest to the festival site – said: “I am disappointed in this application because I have not been consulted at all.
“This is a major step-change – a significant variation of the licence. I shall be making representations about the extension of music from Sunday into Monday because I feel this just is not fair to the local residents. I am also concerned at the increase in numbers to 60,000.
“I know Creamfields has a good track record in terms of avoiding trouble, but if something did go wrong, this increase in numbers could just tip the balance and lead to problems.
“I also think the organisers could have waited until 2012 when their current licence runs out. But of course, if they fail with their application they can always fall back on the original one.”
In previous years, a local residents’ action group has campaigned against the festival and tried to get it stopped. But this may not happen again after two local residents, Paul Barlow and Peter Priestner, lost their case and were ordered by a judge to pay £13,500 costs.
The festival, held over the August Bank Holiday weekend (August 26-29 this year) has always been held on fields forming part of the estate of Lord Peter Daresbury, former chairman of hotel and leisure group De Vere..
Last year it was revealed that he had put the estate on the market with a £11.575 million price tag, and was leaving the area. It is understood he has since sold the house and much of the estate – but retained the area where the festival is held.