A popular St Albans comedy festival is facing a licensing row over fears the events could impact local residents and expose children to bad language.

The St Albans Comedy Garden is set to return for a fourth year in 2024, with Harry Hill, Josh Widdicombe and Jo Brand among the luminaries appearing at Verulamium Park from the 24-28 July.

For the first three years of the events history, it was held to an open air audience on the adjacent water meadow. 

But concerns about the noise impact on the park has forced a rethink.

A recent meeting of the St Albans City and District Council Sub-Licensing committee saw organisers put forward plans for the event to move to a new location in the park, seeking a fresh licence in the process.

Hannah Horan, co-founder of 57 Festivals Ltd, who organise the event, explained: "Following consultations, we decided to move the event to being held in a big top. We need to move the event to the front meadow and that's why we've applied for this licence."

Organisers are asking for permission for recorded music and speakers from 6pm to 10.45pm on weekdays and from noon until 10.45pm on weekends. They also wish to sell alcohol until around 10.15pm

Two nearby residents attended the event to make objections.

They expressed concerns about the late finish times creating noise pollution on the streets afterward, as well as fears that some comedians acts could contain colourful language, creating a risk of children in the park hearing, particularly during afternoon hours.

On the first point, organisers looked to assuage concerns by insisting that there would not be huge crowds spilling out onto the streets, noting that each individual event will be attended by just under 2,000 people.

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On the issue of noise, they claimed that they will work with technicians to adjust volume up or down at moments of particular profanity, particularly for certain artists.

The residents claim they're not looking to play 'party pooper', with one insisting: "We're not looking to stop the event, but rather looking for a way in which it can proceed by minimising the negative impact on the community."

The committee will now consider the arguments and make a decision in due course.