Isle of Wight Festival: Inaccurate information blamed for problems

By Suzanne Pert

Monday, November 19, 2012

 

INACCURATE information about waterlogged car parks at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival has been blamed for much of the traffic disruption that brought the Isle of Wight to a standstill in the summer.

The finding has been made in a report to the economy and environment scrutiny panel, released today (Monday), ahead of its meeting next Monday.

The report came as councillors today (Monday) considered an application from GKN that the festival should have its licence reviewed as a result of the disruption.

According to the economy and environment scrutiny panel report the council, police and ferry companies were given inaccurate information about the rate vehicles were entering festival car parks on the opening day.

That delayed a decision to start using alternative car parks and other traffic management arrangements.

The result was traffic queues, vehicles being held at Fishbourne, ferries from Portsmouth being unable to offload and congestion in Portsmouth.

The report said while comments were received in the aftermath regarding the location of the festival, the council maintained the current site was appropriate and at this stage it was not intending to discuss alternatives with the event organiser.

Although the festival licence allows for 90,000 people on site, including staff, organisers had capped the number of those attending at 55,000, making it smaller than in previous years and with fewer vehicles.

The panel is due to hear that numerous traffic management changes were made for Bestival in September which proved successful and the same principles will be applied to future Isle of Wight Festivals.

At today’s meeting of the regulatory committee GKN claimed its production facility in East Cowes was badly affected by disruption, to the cost of £50,000, which it wants the Isle of Wight Council and festival organisers Solo to reimburse it for.

Festival organiser John Giddings told the County Press that if the licence was withdrawn he had an alternative mainland site lined up.

The committee has yet to make its decision.

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