FESTIVAL LICENCE: New site in Stanhope approved for music stages and alcohol sales
Image: Site South East of Stanhope, Google Maps
Festival bosses have won a licence to host live music and sell alcohol at a new location in Stanhope – despite concerns from neighbours.
The licence application relates to two established annual events, Stone Valley Festival and the Northern Kin Festival, which have operated at Castle Park.
Under new plans, festival organisers applied to Durham County Council for a premises licence at a new location – a field south east of Stanhope.
The application included an indoor stage within a temporary structure, a smaller outdoor stage and bar facilities – with the provision of alcohol sales, live and recorded music and late night refreshment.
This would be limited to two full weekends per year, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, between the months of May and September inclusive.
Applicant Integrated Event Management Ltd clarified that the second stage would only be used for one of the two weekends and on the other weekend, only one indoor stage would be used for live music.
During consultation on the plans, the council’s environmental health department agreed conditions with the organisers.
This included a noise management plan being submitted a minimum of two months prior to the first event and extra checks on noise ‘threshold’ levels.
However, the plans sparked three objection letters from neighbours over potential noise, traffic disruption and access issues as thousands of visitors attend the festival.
Comments for and against the application were considered by licensing chiefs at a digital meeting of the council’s Statutory Licensing Sub-committee on Monday, March 1,
A Railway Terrace resident, speaking at the meeting, raised concerns about river safety and the impact of motor homes and vehicles accessing the new site.
A representative from Integrated Event Management Ltd moved to reassure residents the event would be well-managed, noting the company’s track record around safety and traffic management.
For the festival in Stanhope, organisers would hire more than 90 security staff for the weekend with ‘Challenge 25’ and safeguarding procedures also in place.
Event organisers would operate a park and ride at the other end of Stanhope, with a shuttle bus service arranged and another shuttle bus planned to bring visitors in from Durham and Crook specifically.
Councillors were told that the majority of visitors tend to camp within the festival perimeter, with traffic movements concentrated to two days rather than across the whole weekend.
A traffic management plan would also be put in place with a dedicated diversion provided for Railway Terrace residents to prevent access issues.
In response to licensing officers and councillors, event organisers said the event would meet UK standards and noise would be ‘inaudible’ to the nearest residents post-11pm.
They also noted there was an intention to hold a festival in June, but only if it can be safely done and in accordance with Government legislation.
After retiring to consider the application in private, the council’s Statutory Licensing Sub-committee approved the premises licence application.
This is subject to conditions, including those agreed with the council’s environmental health team.
As part of the decision, the council committee agreed to amend the hours in which the sale by retail of alcohol can take place.
This included 16.00 to 00:30 on Friday, 11:00- 00:30 on Saturday and 11:00-23:30 on Sunday.
A telephone ‘hotline’ will be set up as part of the event to allow residents to report concerns.
Organisers also offered to work with residents to address any problems and encouraged them to get in touch via the relevant festival’s website.
Words: Chris Binding, Local Democracy Reporter
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