At Adur District Council’s full meeting on Thursday, councillor Geoff Patmore claimed that council leader Neil Parkin was already in negotiations with festival organisers before applications had been submitted.He read out a statement, quoting Mr Parkin, which said: “We were in negotiations with them but they’ve just gone ahead and submitted the application.
“We wanted the festival to be for around 25,000 to 30,000 people and for music to finish at 11pm and were in talks. But they’ve submitted an application anyway.”
Mr Patmore also claimed that Mr Parkin had asked SJM Concerts to extend the consultation period but the organisers refused.
After the meeting, Mr Parkin said Mr Patmore’s statement was ‘a lot of rubbish’ and he had no intention of hiding the proposals from other Adur council members.
Mr Parkin said last year he was contacted by Scott Marshall, director for the economy at Adur & Worthing Councils, to ask for his opinion on a potential application for a festival.
“They told me it was for 70,000 people and I said ‘you’ve got to be joking’,” added Mr Parkin.
“We were due to have an informal cabinet meeting with senior officers and cabinet members to discuss conditions and two days before we were due to meet it was on the front page of the newspaper.”
Mr Parkin said he had an email from SJM Concerts promising total confidentiality on the matter until January, 2015, but claimed the organiser ‘jumped the gun’ and submitted an application before conditions could be discussed.
“They also hadn’t done the public notice in the right colour and font, so we asked them if they could extend the consultation period and they didn’t,” said Mr Parkin.
However, he added that it was only a slight difference in font. Mr Patmore also said at Adur’s meeting that a resident survey should be held following the festival.
Councillor Angus Dunn said the council had already made this part ofthes 92 conditions imposed on SJM Concerts. “Condition nine was that it will hold a public meeting with residents each year,” he said.