Isle of Wight Festival: Call for licence review

By Emily Pearce

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

 

Isle of Wight Festival: Call for licence review

Traffic chaos on the opening day of the Isle of Wight Festival. Picture vby Jennifer Burton.

AEROSPACE firm GKN has called for the Isle of Wight Festival's licence to be reviewed over fears about public safety and disorder.

Large parts of the Isle of Wight were brought to a standstill by traffic chaos at the start of this year’s festival, leading to production problems for the East Cowes factory after workers were caught in jams.

The company has now questioned the ability of festival organiser Solo to effectively and safely organise the event in the future.

The application was raised at last night’s (Monday) Newport Parish Council meeting, when chairman Cllr Mary Craven said GKN had raised some good points.

Cllr Geoff Lumley said it was disappointing however, to have only learned of the application after Cllr Craven spotted a public notice while walking her dog close to the Seaclose site.

In its application to the Isle of Wight Council to review the licence, GKN said the congestion caused a clear public nuisance.

It said: "It is accepted the weather conditions were poor. However, this is no justification for the lack of any clear or credible contingency planning by Solo Promoters (and the Isle of Wight Council) to address the bad weather, which caused unprecedented disruption and disorder to the traffic and travel network on the Island.

"The overwhelming consensus of residents and businesses is that the festival does not contribute significantly to the local economy and will constitute an ongoing public nuisance in its current form.

"GKN Aerospace, the residents and businesses of the Isle of Wight are now legitimately concerned that if the licence granted to Solo Promoters is not revoked, or at the very lease reviewed and conditioned, any future festival will continue to cause public nuisance and has real potential to cause crime, disorder and a threat to public safety."

The company claimed emergency services were unable to move freely around the Island, posing a direct threat to public safety, and large numbers of festival-goers were stranded around GKN's premises and the festival site, which could have easily led to disorder.

GKN employees were unable to get to work, causing the company a substantial loss, the firm added.

Festival organisers Solo declined to comment.

Comments on the review application can be submitted on the council's website, at www.iwight.com

The consultation is due to end on November 1, however a date for the licensing hearing has yet to be fixed.

Reporter: emilyp@iwcpmail.co.uk

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