More festival applications are submitted for St Albans Green Belt site

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

Six more applications to license an outdoor site in St Albans for festivals have been considered by councillors.

But even if SADC refuses to grant the licences, it has been suggested that the festivals could still go ahead at Springfield Farm, on Old Parkbury Lane, because of the existing premises licence.

Members of St Albans council’s licensing sub-committee considered the six applications for premises licences at the site on Friday, just three days after considering an earlier eight applications.

Each licence would allow applicants to operate one festival – lasting up to three days – in each calendar quarter, but in line with ‘permitted development’ rights the number of events at the site would be limited to a total 28 days per year.

Dozens of residents had objected to the applications, on the grounds of potential noise and public nuisance, highlighting noise complaints resulting from the Tearout Festival in 2019.

Councillors – who deliberated in private after the public hearings – have yet to publish their decisions.

Solicitor Bernard Ralph said the reason for the separate applications was that site operator Vikram Jashapara wanted each applicant to take as much responsibility as possible for the operation of the events.

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But he added: “If we are not successful with our application we have still got a premises licence application that we can rely on to provide licensable activities."

During the hearings a number of residents highlighted their fears, including Alexander Matthewson, who said he was concerned that because the location was next to the M25 volume at the site had to be louder to cover traffic noise.

He highlighted the ‘unlit’ footpath from the site and access to the site, as well as its Green Belt location.

Chair of Napsbury Park Residents Association Gary Davis pointed to the ‘huge amount’ of complaints they received during the Tearout Festival in 2019 – when he said people couldn’t sit in their gardens or sleep with their windows open.

He said sound monitoring of events at the venue should be undertaken by independent contractors.

Solicitor Mr Ralph pointed to a catalogue of data that suggested that any noise ‘breakout’ would not cause a nuisance to residents, and said most of the licences listed festivals that would finish by 11pm – with very few going past that time and strict conditions relating to noise.

Mr Ralph also referred to the annual 28-day limit on events on the site and proposed a formal licensing condition to recognise this.