Council’s concern over huge Sidmouth dance party


Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

ORGANISERS of a planned bank holiday dance party in Sidmouth say it will still go ahead - despite being dealt a licensing blow over noise concerns.

They want nearly 500 revellers to flock to the ticketed festival and camp there from August 24 to 26, and for alcohol and food to be served to them into the early hours.

Driving forces insist the event will happen - and are even prepared to splash out on an inflatable marquee at the site on Harcombe Hill to keep the decibels down.

Environmental health experts were not convinced with the first application for music to be played from 7am to 4am.

A bid for a temporary event notice was turned down by a district council licensing and enforcement sub-committee last month.

Members expressed fears for the effect music being played for 37 out of 48 hours would have on holidaymakers, farmers and nearby residents when they ruled it would cause a ‘public nuisance’.

It was proposed music, from bands and DJs, would be played from noon to 4am on the Saturday and from 7am to 4am on the Sunday. Outdoor music would end at 11pm on both days and food would be served until 5am.

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However, environmental health officer Gill Weller told a hearing on May 28 that there were 831 council tax paying premises, excluding camp sites and caravan parks, that would be effected.

She said noise ‘nuisance’ would reach villages including Harcombe, Branscombe, Sidford, Sidbury and Salcombe Regis.

The officer was happy for music to continue until midnight – but saw suggestions of a ‘silent disco’ where people wear headphones - dismissed.

Applicant Nick Parkinson said objections about noise were ‘unfounded’.

“We hope this will be a boost for the local economy and an event for the community,” he said.

“Dance music events depend on late finishes. If we are restricted as suggested we’re snubbing out our business.

“We’re spending a considerable amount of money on this inflatable marquee with the specific purpose of keeping environmental health and neighbours happy.”

Sub-committee chairman, Councillor Steve Hall said the application showed a ‘lack of consideration for the local working population and potential vast numbers of visitors on a bank holiday seeking peace and tranquillity in East Devon’.

Notifying Mr Parkinson that the festival had not been granted the permission sought, he added that there was scope for a future, amended application.

Mr Parkinson expressed interest in appealing the decision but was told this could take three months – and therefore may not be processed by the time the event was scheduled to take place.