Mumford & Sons concert - why were we not consulted?

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Not being a regular reader of your esteemed journal, I have only recently begun to hear any detail of the forthcoming popular concert by Mumford and Sons.

What I have now learned, mostly from two ward councillors, is frankly horrifying, the underlying cause being the arrival of 25,000 ticket holders in the area.

Even though the site is immediately behind our house and those of others, there has been no consultation with us, nor even any formal information or reassurance from the District Council. The initial decision to go ahead was apparently taken by the leader and chief executive under something called ‘Strong Leadership’.

Further discussion to use the Convent Field took place in the full council. However, my Ward District Councillor was excluded from taking part because, by virtue of living nearby, she has an interest. This means that the councillor whom we have elected is not able to represent us on an issue within the ward because she lives in the ward.

Not only are we likely to have sleepless nights on the weekend of July 19, there is also going to be serious traffic disruption during the previous week with 190 parking spaces being suspended.

Both traffic and parking are, at the best of times, already extremely difficult.

Bearing in mind the efforts being made recently to reduce the influx of visitors on Bonfire Night, it beggars belief that the council has decided to encourage an influx of 25,000, not just for one evening, but for a weekend.

There is no objection to popular concerts in general, but they are normally held on rural sites away from residential homes; indeed one of the councillors has told me that this is the only such event in this country to be held in a town. If so, the organisers have no experience of working within a town and will be learning at the expense of us all.

While I am no longer a Trustee of the Priory I have intense pride in and concern for Priory Park, having spent 13 years on the much-praised refurbishment that we achieved.

I must leave representation on that issue to the Trustees, but my concern is exacerbated by the inclusion of Priory Park in the concert site with it being a major entrance to the event from Cockshut Road.

However successful the District Council may feel that this event will be, there can be no satisfactory outcome for those living nearby and no excuse for the lack of consultation.

John Lawrence

Lewes

RESPONSE: Ever since I joined the District Council in 2003, it has been considered that, because I live within yards of the Convent Field, I have a personal interest that prevents me from voting on decisions to do with the field. It is not that I live in the ward but that I live so close to this field within the ward. However this does not in any way preclude me from representing the wishes and feelings of the residents of my ward over an issue to do with the field nor taking up questions on their behalf about issues to do with the field, and I have done both in recent weeks. I will continue to do so at the request of residents in Priory Ward.

Ruth O’Keeffe

Independent Town and District Councillor, Lewes Priory Ward
Independent County Councillor, Lewes Division

South Street