South Gloucestershire Show gets the green light

A LICENCE has been granted for a family festival with a capacity of 20,000 near Westerleigh, despite pleas from nearby residents.

The South Gloucestershire Show will take place for the first time in 2014 at Windmill Fishery in Henfield, near the Tulip Abattoir.

It will be held over two days, August 2 and 3, with up to 10,000 people attending each day. The show will include live music, a beer festival, activities such as fishing, shooting, BMX displays, a classic car show and performances by local dance groups.

Organisers say it will put South Gloucestershire on the map and give local families a wonderful day out.

But people living a stone’s throw from the site fear the event will attract swathes of revellers looking to drink too much, take drugs and because of its remoteness, encourage drink driving.

Jon Green, who lives at one of two cottages bordering the 15-acre site, told a meeting of South Gloucestershire Council’s licensing sub-committee: “Given the numbers of people attending and what could be perceived as all-day drinking, I wonder what type of control there is to prevent alcohol-fuelled disorder.

“This is being sold as a country show but there will be a beer festival and a stage playing live music. That tends to attract a certain type of customer and I worry about drug use.”

Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Westerleigh) said there were genuine traffic concerns for the single-lane Westerleigh Road which would be used to access the show.

“Traffic management is a major concern,” she said. “Event at the weekends, lorries continue to access an oil depot and the abattoir and they would be in conflict with the one-way system envisaged for traffic entering and exiting the site.

“Westerleigh Road has been an accident black spot over the years and this event would generate significant amounts of traffic.”

She added: “As far as I am aware this is a new type of event for South Gloucestershire. It has the potential to be an enjoyable day out for a large number of people but it is important to ensure that that is not at the expense of the wellbeing of those who live close to the site.”

Organiser Darren Hawkins told the committee the event had been in the planning stage for two years and private security firm Avon and Somerset Guarding had been contracted to patrol the show.

“This is a community-based show which gives local groups a chance to highlight what they are doing,” he said. “We are not organising Glastonbury. It is not a big music festival.”

He said the experienced team of organisers were working with cycling charity Sustrans to make the show a cycle-to destination.

Mr Hawkins, from Charfield, said details of where the stage, beer tent and toilets would be located will be decided at a safety advisory meeting in January, when licensing officers will ‘grill’ the show’s organisers further.

A panel of three councillors agreed to grant a premises licence for the show but limited the sale of alcohol to 9pm, refusing a bid to continue serving exhibitors in a wristband-controlled tent until 11pm. Several other conditions were also applied including 24-hour security at a ratio of one to 100 members of the public.

For more information about the show go to www.southglosshow.co.uk

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