Council set to rubber-stamp licence for Portsmouth’s South Central Festival despite noise concerns

A TOP councillor has given Portsmouth’s upcoming South Central Festival his 'full support' ahead of its licence decision meeting next week.

Tuesday, 2nd April 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 11th November 2019, 10:37 am

On Monday (April 8) Portsmouth City Council's planning committee is set to rubber-stamp the music festival's licence, despite some concerns about noise levels.

The event will replace Mutiny Festival at which two young festival goers lost their lives last year after taking ecstasy tablets.

New measures have already been proposed to ensure the safety of revellers including on-site drug testing and providing 54 free water taps, more than the 21 last year. The entry age will be raised to 18, up from 16.

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Although organisers did not need a new licence the case will be brought to committee due to the concerns of the council's environmental protection officer, Michael Thorne, who feared that noise levels would not be acceptable.

He said: 'I am not satisfied that employing the same conditions as were applied to the Mutiny Festival will adequately support the licensing objective “prevention of public nuisance”.'

Mr Thorne is suggesting to the committee that the new licence stipulates that organisers must comply with noise regulations, rather than agreeing 'to aim to comply.'

But the council's deputy leader and head of culture, Councillor Steve Pitt, backed the festival that will be held on the King George V playing fields in Cosham. 'With any large event anywhere in the grand scheme of things there are going to be concerns about noise,' he said.

'But they have worked with all of the statutory authorities and there have been no other objections.

'None of the statutory organisations have any issue with it. I would be very surprised if anything negative happens at the licensing meeting.

'We always welcome large scale events to the city as long as they are well organised. This has had full sign off from all the parties and the council hopes the event goes well.'

If approved the licence will give organisers permission to stay open, sell alcohol and host live music and performance between 12pm and 12am on both Saturday and Sunday of the second May Bank Holiday weekend.

It will also allow for up to 19,999 people to attend each day. Last year Mutiny attracted around 15,000 people on the first day before the second day was cancelled following the deaths of 18-year-old Georgia Jones and 20-year-old Tommy Cowan.

This year crowd management, sniffer dogs and a searching policy will still be implemented.

Major acts including Craig David, Sean Paul and Example will be performing at the event, which takes place on May 25 and 26.