Paperwork query sparks decision delay

A POP festival organiser has been told to get his paperwork in order so councillors can decide whether not to let the event go ahead.

Matthew Broadfield, who is hoping to stage a 3,500 capacity festival on the outskirts of March at the end of next month, was told by Cllr Michael Humphrey chairman at the end of a licensing hearing on Wednesday: “We would expect the applicant to forward completed paperwork to the Licensing Authority, the Police Authority and Environmental Health by Thursday July 28 for them to assess this information.”

The panel, which was set to decide whether to grant a licence for the festival due to be held over the Bank Holiday weekend, decided to adjourn until August 4 to give Mr Broadfield a chance to sort out the paperwork and to give the various interested parties time to look at it.

In his summing up at the end of Wednesday’s hearing at Fenland Hall Cllr Humphrey said: “We have listened to the evidence presented to the committee and are concerned as to how this hearing will progress.”

He said the panel was concerned that witnesses for Mr Broadfield stipulated that the documentation they were presenting was not complete.

The Health and Safety witness for the applicant stated “more work to be done” and the Fire Safety witness stated “that he would like to carry out a risk assessment with the local fire service”.

Cllr Humphrey continued: “Initial questioning of the applicant appeared to raise more questions than answers especially over which was the correct documentation and we do not feel that we are in a position to make a decision that is fair on both parties and the town of March.

“Mr Broadfield now appears to have engaged a team of qualified professionals to take this application forward however by his team’s own admission they have only been in place for seven days.

“Accordingly under Regulation 12 of the Licensing Act 2003 (Hearings) Regulations 2005 we have the power to adjourn the hearing to a specified date.”

Police have raised a variety of objections to the proposed one-day festival at the Grounds Auction Field in Knights End Road.

Branding the proposed event a licensed rave Insp Rob Hill, March Sector Commander, said it was likely to attract a large crowd with artists such as former Blue band member Simon Webbe, garage duo Artful Dodger, DJ Luck and MC Neat lined up to perform.

He said people, who are likely to become intoxicated at the site, are likely to walk across a main road to town causing risk of injury and a likely nuisance to road users.

Concerns over possible annoyance and noise disturbance to residents living in nearby residential areas were also raised.

Insp Hill said there were concerns that people leaving the festival after it ends might try to access other licensed premises in the town and could cause problems for police.

He went on to list 18 further points of concern about the organisation of the event and concluded: “I would have serious concerns about the safety and well-being of persons attending for reasons listed and due to the ages of the people attending the potential for disorder.”

However, Mr Broadfield is adamant he is doing everything necessary to meet the conditions being set in order to obtain the licence.

And has claimed the council is employing double standards by demanding more from him for his event than they expect from themselves when they hold events such as March Summer Festival.

If no licence is granted then the event, which Mr Broadfield is billing as Fenland’s first music festival, will have to be cancelled. However, he has promised that if that does happen anyone who has purchased tickets will receive a full refund.