Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Music festival faces licence restrictions after residents complain about noise

A MUSIC festival in Caversham could be shortened after complaints by residents about noise from last year’s event.

Readipop, formerly known as the Caversham Festival, used to take place at Christchurch Meadows on one day but has been extended to three in recent years.

Ten residents complained about last year’s event from Friday to Sunday, July 8 to 10 and now Reading borough councillors are to consider imposing restrictions on the organisers’ licence.

Rebecca Moon, a senior environmental health officer, said: “The complaints appear to have resulted from changes made to the festival last year, mainly a larger funfair and larger rides, and the addition of a dance tent which consisted of DJs and MCs playing continuous dance, drum and bass and reggae music.

“The organisers were unable to exert adequate control over the sound levels from the drum and bass tent as the sound system belonged to the promoter who was running this tent. A number of the premises licence conditions were not complied with, which means that public nuisance wasn’t adequately controlled.”

Ms Moon said a leaflet promoting the festival didn’t have a contact name or phone number and there was no mention of how to make a complaint about noise or anything else.

She added: “A meeting has been held with the organisers and they were open to discussing the problems experienced and proposing options to reduce the potential for public nuisance next year.”

Jim McMaster, of Patrick Road, said: “In 2016 the scale of nuisance of Readipop festival and fair was unacceptable for local residents.

“The attractions were more like a theme park than a meadows fair. Large fair attractions backed on to residences.

“I object to the 2017 Readipop festival and fair being sited on Christchurch Meadows. King’s Meadow is available and already hosts events of a similar nature.”

Lin Godfrey, also of Patrick Road, said: “It is a shame that the 2016 Readipop is subject to a licence review when with better organisation and management the issue of public nuisance might not have arisen.

“It offered extremely good value to those who attended and enjoyed it but surely it was naive of Readipop not to expect complaints with such close proximity to residential properties.”

Mrs Godfrey commended the organisers for allowing charities to have space free of charge and said the site was left in a pristine condition.

But she added: “If Readipop wants the festival to grow as 2016 indicated Christchurch Meadow is not the place for it.

“As the surrounding residential properties are not going to go away, perhaps the answer is to look for another site which would give Readipop the space to fulfil its potential. It is now a music festival, not a family event.”

On Thursday, Reading Borough Council’s licensing applications sub-committee will consider imposing conditions including restricting the event to Saturday and Sunday, removing the live music exemption and reducing the noise limit.

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