COUNCILLORS have approved a series of summer events every year at Severn Beach including outdoor concerts, plays, dance performances and a pop-up bar.

South Gloucestershire Council licensing sub-committee granted permission for the plans, led by a group of locals, which aim to revitalise the once-thriving seaside resort next to the M4 Prince of Wales Bridge, near Bristol.

The events, at the large flat stretch of land at Promenade Gardens just back from the seafront, include a classic car show and the annual Severnside Festival, which is relocating this year from the village hall recreation ground so organisers can manage it better.

The council’s environmental protection team objected on the grounds of noise but officers and applicants Severnside Events, a not-for-profit organisation set up by the parish council, agreed conditions during a 10-minute adjournment at the hearing on Thursday, June 11.

One resident wrote in support of the application for a premises licence while two neighbours objected with concerns that parking was already a problem, the village was not big enough for a festival and that its peaceful nature would be ruined.

“We want to showcase the seafront"

But Pilning & Severn Beach Parish Council chairman Nick Davies, of Severnside Events, told the panel that the festival had been running for many years.

Mr Davies added that a local farmer had agreed to allow a field to be used for parking, which would actually ease the issue compared with normal days despite an increase in vehicles.

He said that many visitors would not arrive by car because there were half-hourly trains and a bus route that stopped at Promenade Gardens.

Mr Davies said: “We want to showcase the seafront and our front garden – it’s why Severn Beach exists. It remains a resort.”

He said the events would be a much-needed boost for the local economy and for visitors’ experience.

Mr Davies said Severn Beach had no pub and that the popular Tea Cottage was closed on Sundays, so there were very few places for anyone to get refreshments.

“I suppose you could go to Morrisons and buy a four-pack of lager but that is not the image we are trying to portray,” Mr Davies told councillors.

“The entertainment is a potential draw for day tourists and creates a vibrant front for our community.”

He said amplified live and recorded music would be located away from people’s homes, while acoustic performances would take place in Frances Barr Walk.

Organisers expect between 1,000 to 1,500 people 

Mr Davies said more than two-thirds of residents were in favour of the proposals and that one of the ideas was to have a community piano where anyone could turn up and play.

The parish council chairman said the events would be well managed, the noise controlled and there would be facilities such as bicycle parking, bins and toilets, including disabled cubicles, while the site itself was fully wheelchair accessible.

Mr Davies said some events would be held outside the summer, including bonfire night and a Christmas carol concert.

He said that although the capacity would be for 5,000 people, it was more realistic that 1,000 to 1,500 would attend even the largest event.

Mr Davies said the organisers could apply for temporary event notices for each one but that a premises licence gave flexibility depending on the weather forecast on the rain- and wind-battered Severn Estuary.

The sub-committee granted a licence for up to 12 events a year, with no more than three per month, with music and alcohol sales from midday to 10pm from Friday to Sunday – an hour earlier than requested – and music performances restricted to three hours a day following a request from environmental health.