"This council resolves to conduct a detailed survey of residents' views in Widewater, Mash Barn, Marine and St Nicholas wards immediately after the 2015 Shoreham music festival, concerning the impact it has had on their communities and the desirability of allowing subsequent music festivals at Shoreham airport." (Item 13)
The motion has been tabled by Councillor Geoff Patmore of Widewater Ward who feels that, "Councillors are elected to represent their constituents. The ADC leadership has failed to listen to its electorate in the 4 wards most affected. This motion addresses that, albeit after the event. If the motion is passed and the survey's result is a resounding "no more Wildlife festivals" then the Council must overrule the Licensing Committee and stop any further disruption and chaos, in many forms, (including increasing the numbers to 70,000 festival attendees per day), that the Wildlife festival will create for the future."The JSC meeting is open to the public who are allowed to ask questions at the start.
The first question that springs to my mind is, could this motion really stop the festival?
According to the Council's report, it's a resounding no. Under item 13 of the meeting papers it says that, "The outcome of the survey would therefore not provide a basis by which the licensing authority could take any action against the current premises licence and could not affect the staging of future music festivals. Therefore, should the outcome of the survey be wholly negative towards the event, the Council could not take any action with the regard to the licence holder.
(Agenda item 13 3.6)
Conversely, if the majority of local residents are in favour of the event the Council could not prevent the Licensing Committee having to revoke the licence if a review application proved that the licensing objectives were being undermined and the licence holder was not addressing them.
(Agenda item 13 3.7)"
So what could the motion achieve? Additional expense to the Council and an opportunity to voice an opinion, yet the Council state that the latter is already provided for under condition 9 of the Premises Licence. That says that, "Premises Licence Holder will... convene a public debrief with residents within one month of the SAG debrief following each Event."
The Premises Holder is SJM Ltd. There is a unshakeable perception amongst some local residents that SJM has already demonstrated that it does not give a monkey's about the local community so allowing it to hold a debrief would be even worse than a survey that promised more than it could deliver.
In my view, this motion is simply an expression of the sense of anger and injustice felt by some towards the way in which SJM both applied for and were granted the Licence. Until tackled head-on, this motion may just be one of many initiatives designed to give a voice to some frustrated, informed and highly motivated members of our community.
Here are the details if you wish to attend the meeting.
Adur and Worthing Joint Strategic Committee Meeting
Tuesday 31st March
Adur Civic Centre
Thanks for reading my blog. As always, please comment if you wish and in the meantime, I'll be back after Easter with a post on how our iconic airport will benefit from the Wildlife Festival.
The result of the hearing was as follows,
- "The Joint Strategic Committee dismissed the motion as it was satisfied that condition (9) of the premises licence, requiring SJM to engage with local residents and seek their views (at no cost to the Council), would be sufficient." (unapproved minutes of the meeting)