Isle of Wight Festival: Council hears GKN concerns

By Emily Pearce

Monday, November 19, 2012

 

WITH TWEETS VIA STORIFY

A REVIEW of the Isle of Wight Festival's licence will continue tomorrow (Tuesday).

The hearing, which started today (Monday), was almost abandoned before it even began, when festival promoters Solo appealed to the Isle of Wight Council's regulatory committee to dismiss the application, which was lodged by GKN following the traffic chaos at this year's event.

Solo's solicitor alleged the aerospace firm had used the review process to pressurise Solo into paying £50,000 compensation — the amount GKN says it lost due to the disruption.

But the committee did not accept Solo’s view the application was entirely 'frivolous or vexatious' and allowed the hearing to go ahead.

Solo has refused to reimburse GKN and denied it was liable for compensation.

The committee today heard from emergency services personnel, who said they were able to respond to emergency calls despite the traffic congestion, and from the council's licensing and highways bosses, who said lessons had been learnt.

Police Supt Paul Brooks, the officer with overall responsibility for the festival, told the committee no-one could have foreseen the consequences of the prolonged heavy rain.

"There is no doubt that the car park entrance was the single point of failure, and we have to accept the contingency planning around that was not as good as we would normally expect," he said.

"However, it was the worst weather for 100 years. We have never come across this issue before, that you couldn't park on grass, and it wasn't just the Isle of Wight that was affected. It was the same at the Farnborough Air Show, Creamfields and Silverstone.

"But it would be unforgivable if we didn't learn from this, and we will never allow a situation like this to happen again."

Festival organiser John Giddings told the County Press he had a mainland site lined up as a potential alternative to the Isle of Wight, should the festival's licence be withdrawn.

Reporter: emilyp@iwcpmail.co.uk

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