Fire Festival hit by dampener

Photo courtesy of Google Maps. SUS-160421-115954001
Photo courtesy of Google Maps. SUS-160421-115954001

An open air ‘Celtic ritual event’ to be held near Halland over the May Bank Holiday weekend hangs in the balance.

Environmental health officers have raised an objection to a temporary event notice from Huw Williams to stage the Beltane Fire Festival in a field at Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum. If the objection is upheld it would have to be cancelled.

In his notice, Mr Williams says this is ‘a family event with activities for families and children including woodland crafts, yoga, dance, songs, talks and crafts.’

A website describes it as ‘a living, dynamic reinterpretation and modernisation of an ancient Iron Age Celtic ritual resurrected as a practice to acknowledge and revel in the birth of summer and fertility of the land.’

He points out there will be live folk music which finishes by midnight and the event is ‘strictly alcohol and drug free to encourage safety and fun for families.’

A circus marquee would hold up to 399 people and the event is due to run from 8am-1pm, Friday April 29 and 30 and May 1, closing at 2pm on May 2. Music would be played between 7pm and midnight.

In January this year Rother and Wealden district councils’ shared pollution control officer Clare Ross told Mr Williams about their objection under the Public Nuisance Licensing Objective.

It explained they had concerns about noise on site and the potential for nuisance to local people. At that time officers asked Mr Williams to meet them so the impact of noise on local residents could be amicably discussed.

A representative from Bentley attended a meeting on Tuesday this week but no final decision will be reached until members of Wealden’s licensing committee meets to discuss the issue on Friday. Ms Ross pointed out the council needs a noise management plan with details about how noise will be controlled and monitored, the type of information and sound system proposed.

The law says residents must be protected from crime, anti-social behaviour and noise ‘caused by irresponsible licensed premises.’

Police and licensing authorities can manage and police night-time economy and take action against premises causing problems.

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