Festival applications granted for St Albans' Springfield Farm

An event being held at Springfield Farm. Picture: Submitted by Vik Josh of Springfield Farm

An event being held at Springfield Farm. Picture: Submitted by Vik Josh of Springfield Farm - Credit: Vik Josh of Springfield Farm

Thirteen applications to license an outdoor site in St Albans for festivals have been granted – but ‘opening’ hours have been limited to midnight.

In two separate hearings, St Albans council considered 14 separate applications for premises licences for the Springfield Farm site, on Old Parkbury Lane.

The 13 approved licences will allow each applicant to run festivals at the site – lasting up to three days – up to four times a year.

However – in practice – the overall the use of the site will be limited to a total of 28 days.

Site operator Vic Jashapara already holds a premises licence for the site, that allows alcohol to be sold until midnight – and for the site to stay open until 1am.

But in each case – regardless of the hours requested in the application – the sub-committee has set an 11pm limit on music and the supply of alcohol and a midnight closing time on the 13 new licences.

Only two of the 13 applications had requested ‘opening’ hours later than midnight – and three to supply alcohol and play music after 11pm.

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At the hearings, members of the licensing sub-committee had been told Mr Jashapara had asked organisers to make their own premises licence applications –  so they would take as much responsibility as possible for the operation of the events.

They also heard that a number of residents had raised concern about noise and ‘public nuisance’.

And references were made to the Tearout Festival at the site in 2019 – which had led to dozens of noise complaints.

In publishing their decisions – which are the same for 13 of the applications applications – the sub-committee point to the impact the events are likely to have on residents.

They highlight the absence of noise complaints since the Tearout Festival in 2019.

They point to the commitment made to limit the overall number of events at the site to 28 days.

And they conclude that the premises licences – with conditions to manage the ‘noise’ and the ‘reduction’ in hours for licensable activities – can be approved.

The decision notice states: “We note that Springfield Farm is not in a residential area but accept that it is also not an entirely remote location.

“We have therefore considered the impact that events have had, or are likely to have on the residents closest to Springfield Farm.

“We consider that 23:00 hours is normally considered to be “night time” in Environmental Health legislation because the general ambient noise decreases after that time so that other noise will be more prevalent.

“We consider that given the evidence relating to the Tearout event noise after 23:00 hours is more likely to cause a nuisance.”

After recognising that there have been no further complaints since the Tearout Festival, it states: “We note that there have been no complaints since, which may be connected to the reduction in events due to the pandemic, however, we also recognise that we have not heard about events prior to 2019 either.

“We have noted that the applicant has offered to limit their activities so as to permit an overall use of the site that does not exceed 28 days per calendar year.

“Given that the DPS and the event-area landowner is the same for all of the premises licence applications for Springfield Farm, we note that he has control over the restriction whilst this remains the case.”

They say they recognise residents’ concerns relating to traffic, transport, infrastructure, littering and planning matters.
However they say they fall outside the licensing regime and cannot be considered: “We consider that, with the conditions to manage the noise as agreed, or offered by, the applicant, together with the reduction in hours for licensable activities to 23:00, the premises can operate so as to promote the four licensing objectives.”

The approved applications for premises licences were made by Red Rooms, Syn Events, Dirty Stereo Productions, Billie Farrant, Meshach McDonald, Danny Oliver & Ryan Thomas, On the Floor Ltd, Motiv Enterprise Ltd, Luke Abrahams, Jack Edmonds & Patrick Reid, Miles Mason&Aaron Wallace, Ercan Mehmet and Nigel O’Connor.

A further application for a premises licence from Rise and Rave Ltd was refused following objections from police.