Springfield Farm New Year's Day party blocked by council

Springfield Farm, near Colney Street, St Albans

Springfield Farm, near Colney Street, St Albans - Credit: Google Earth

A 2,000-capacity party to celebrate New Year’s Day has become the latest event to be blocked from going ahead on St Albans farmland, after the council’s licensing team said “residents have been put through enough”.

The application is the third music event planned for Springfield Farm, Old Parkbury Lane, since August to be refused by St Albans District Council, after authorities raised concerns about the suitability of the site.

At least two other applicants have withdrawn their application before it was heard by the council’s licensing sub-committee.

Andreas Millios had applied for a premises licence to host the event on January 1, but the fire service, police, environmental health and the council’s licensing officers all objected to the plans.

The event was due to host house music across two stages between 2pm and 11pm, with the organiser saying despite the higher capacity limit, the event would more likely host around 800 people.

Mr Millios noted that there are currently 16 premises licences in place for the site, but the responsible authorities said these were approved before complaints had been raised over the summer.

The organiser said he wanted to do “everything in my power” to put the event on, noting that he had successfully organised similar events elsewhere.

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However environmental health maintained their objection to the Springfield Farm site as “unsuitable” for music events and festivals at present after receiving a number of complaints from nearby residents during the summer.

Daniel Pattenden, the council’s Senior Licensing officer, said despite trying to enforce restrictions during past events, “nearly every single event” held this summer resulted in complaints about noise.

Mr Pattenden added: “It’s not a slight on Mr Millios, I do believe he actually wants to run a good event. I just don’t think the site is capable of doing so at the moment.

“I will admit I am currently working with the site, we do try to work with sites and try be permissive and pragmatic.

“There’s a lot of work going on, on the site, but it’s just not there yet. To my mind, any event that’s going to be run at the moment is still going to cause us a noise issue.

“I just feel the residents have been put through enough this summer, and it would be remiss of me if I didn’t come forward and ask for you to look at refusing this application”.

Despite Mr Millios confirming no vehicles would be on site during the event, the fire service and police also raised concerns about the single one-way access road to the site,which could hinder any response by emergency services.

During the meeting, Councillor Emma Matanle (Liberal Democrat, Sopwell) also questioned how safely the event could go ahead following the recent rise in Covid cases.

The organiser confirmed they would be checking for the NHS Covid Pass, but there would be no specific measures brought in for the event unless new restrictions were introduced ahead of the event.

Councillor Raj Visram (Liberal Democrat, Marshalswick North) also noted that car parking would be between half a mile and a mile away from the site, and questioned whether there would be enough taxis to get visitors safely away from the site.

Despite assurances from the organiser that there would be sufficient transport, and claims he had successfully run similar events before without any problems, the committee decided against granting the premises licence. 

In their written decision, the committee said: "We do not consider that the site in its current state is suitable for this event and therefore the applicant cannot hold the proposed event in such a way as to promote the four licensing objectives, in particular the prevention of public nuisance and the promotion of public safety."

Following the refusal, the council issued a counter notice to prevent any event taking place on the site.

The applicant is entitled to appeal the decision within 21 days.

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