THE RACE is on to get a festival up and running for the opening night, after the licence was approved this evening.
Driftwood Festival in Gosport, which is being organised by Paul Cobb – the man behind the ill-fated GosFest – will now be going ahead as planned after a Gosport Borough Council meeting.
The meeting, which was chaired by Cllr Wayne Ronayne, aimed to clarify some of the issues raised by residents in the local area.
The licence itself is for the ability to hold two weekend-long events in Stokes Bay each year, and to serve alcohol on the premises during that time.
14 representations were made for the meeting, all of which came from residents.
One of those who raised his concerns about the event was former Gosport councillor, Dave Smith.
Mr Smith’s concerns lay in the safety of young people, both during and after the event, as well as with Mr Cobb’s history – specifically the failure of GosFest.
Mr Smith said: ‘We have a whole history of events in Gosport and the ones that Mr Cobb has previously run have been aimed at young people.
‘It is a well-established fact that young people will be running amok both during the day and afterwards. He has no experience with managing security – it has to be a registered, licenced company.
‘I think that the events Mr Cobb runs are about raising money, with little accountability, and no accounts ever submitted.’
Mr Cobb responded to Mr Smith’s statements – as well as others made by concerned residents, who raised awareness of noise pollution, anti-social behaviour and the amount of traffic coming through the area.
Mr Cobb said: ‘We have a registered security company for the event, who will patrol the site both before and afterwards.
‘If anyone is in a position where they need help, we will make sure they get home safely.
‘The bar staff will be operating under the ‘Challenge 25’ policy, and will have a personal licence for each bar. If someone is too drunk, they will not be served alcohol.
‘From past experience, many people tend to come to events via public transport, so traffic also shouldn’t be an issue.’
Mr Cobb also alleviated concerns about littering, particularly around the beach outside the venue.
He said: ‘At the end of the event, once we clear our site we will make sure that we leave the beach as we found it.’
Cllr Philip Raffaelli asked Mr Cobb what the maximum amount of people allowed in would be.
Mr Cobb responded: ‘The maximum will be 4,500 – which is the maximum that we can handle with our security, toilets and other on-site facilities.’
The committee adjourned for around 20 minutes while they came to a decision.
Cllr Ronayne said: ‘After listening to the representations, the officers and Mr Cobb himself, the sub-board has approved the licence, on the condition that people are to leave quietly in the evening once the event finishes.’
Mr Cobb spoke of his delight that the application had been a success.
He said: ‘We expected the decision to be made because we meet all the licencing objectives.’
Driftwood Festival begins at 5pm on Friday, and runs all weekend.
Ticket’s are available on the gate for £3, £1 for children and seniors.