Theatre wins right to perform at new venue

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MEMBERS of a theatre group are celebrating after victory in a court battle over its right to perform.

Titchfield Festival Theatre took Fareham Borough Council to court after the authority refused to grant it a premises licence for a venue in St Margarets Lane in Titchfield.

The council’s licensing panel had rejected the application for the 15,000sq ft storage unit following complaints from neighbours over potential noise.

But at Portsmouth Magistrates Court, the bench ruled in favour of the theatre.

However the not-for-profit group has said that the fight has cost it about £20,000 in legal fees and lost revenue from shows it was unable to put on.

Kevin Fraser, the group’s chairman, said: ‘We are elated with the outcome from this as it means we can get on with things.

‘We were always dumbfounded at the council’s decision. We had a strong case from the very start and cannot understand why they let this go so far.’ The bench decided that there was insufficient evidence from the residents about the alleged disruption from noise for the council to put forward a proper case.

Licensing chairwoman Cllr Pam Bryant said: ‘The licence was allowed with a number of concessions. But without the evidence from the residents there was little that could be done at court. We made a decision at our panel meeting based on the evidence we had before us at the time.’