Plans for a new Shoreline kitesurfing festival in Hayling Island dropped after objections from residents

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Plans for a four-day kitesurfing festival on Hayling Island have been blocked after safety fears were raised as well as concerns it would be a nuisance to people living nearby.

The council has initially proposed the Chichester Avenue car park as the site of the event to the organisers so the family Kitesurfing day event could be combined with music going into the evening, creating a new Shoreline Festival event for up to 5,000 people.

However the council’s own committee has now refused the licence needed which would have allowed the four-day Kitesurfing Armada festival after objections were raised by some Hayling Island residents.

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Gareth Gwynne-Smith, of Security and Event Solutions, said: ”I am devastated about the decision but I am reaching out to the council to make it work. I am really gutted as we wanted to bring this event to Hayling in a professional way.”

Kitesurfing Armada Festival at Hayling Island in 2021. Pictured: People kite surfing at Hayling Island. Picture: Habibur Rahman.Kitesurfing Armada Festival at Hayling Island in 2021. Pictured: People kite surfing at Hayling Island. Picture: Habibur Rahman.
Kitesurfing Armada Festival at Hayling Island in 2021. Pictured: People kite surfing at Hayling Island. Picture: Habibur Rahman.

He said he will not be appealing the decision and had previously said: “It’s not Glastonbury, it’s never been planned to be Glastonbury. We would like to bring back the event [Kitesurfing Armada] that was down there [Hayling Island].”

The licensing committee, on March 18, heard verbal objections from six residents, most of whom live 15 to 30 metres away from the car park as well as being told there were another 29 written objections for the event not to be able to serve alcohol and play music.

After debating the application, the sub-committee’s decision to refuse the application was published today (Monday, March 25) and its reasons for refusing the licence for the event included local residents’ concerns. The main concerns in the report were the 4,999 people entering the site daily, that the licensable area was very close to nearby houses (in some cases 15 to 30 metres), and that the Hayling Light Railway runs through the site, as well as a number of beach huts being affected.

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Documents said: “The area subject to this application had inherent risks to public nuisance and public safety that could not be mitigated by conditions. The proximity of the site to nearby houses poses a risk that music from the stage and DJs until the end of the proposed hours would cause a nuisance to nearby residents at unreasonable hours.”

At the meeting, Dan Charlish, former Kitesurfing Armada Festival organiser and advisor to Mr Gwynne-Smith, said putting on an event like this is not financially viable without providing alcohol and music.

Mr Gwynne-Smith added: ”We completely understand the concerns of the residents, and have always been committed to working alongside them. We are hugely disappointed at this decision. Our hope was to put Hayling Island seafront back where it belongs, right at the hub of the outdoor activity and watersports world and that this vibrant, family event would benefit residents and visitors alike.”

The application, had it been approved, would have allowed films, live music, DJ performances and the sale of food and drink at varying times between 10am until midnight over the four-day festival. The 5,000 tickets which would have been available per day included 1,500 for weekend camping. An estimated 500 staff, performers and others were to be employed for duties, including emergency and coastguard, the committee was told.