Neighbours’ ‘outrage’ at music festival in Faygate forest

Holmbush House residents look out over a field they believe will be used for festival parking. Photo by Steve Robards SR1604583
Holmbush House residents look out over a field they believe will be used for festival parking. Photo by Steve Robards SR1604583

A music festival due to take place between Horsham and Crawley in August has yet to obtain the licensing necessary to host the event.

Between 7,000 and 10,000 revellers are expected to descend on Holmbush Forest over the Bank Holiday weekend for The Big Kahuna, with legendary rockers Happy Mondays currently topping the bill.

But organisers submitted their licensing application to Horsham District Council on Wednesday February 10, two days after the festival was announced, with the outcome yet to be determined.

And residents of Holmbush House, which is located within the grounds of the forest, have criticised the event.

Duncan Noël-Paton said he was ‘appalled’ and ‘shocked’ by the announcement of the festival, which is set to take place from August 26-29.

He said: “I think it is a feeling of outrage given how late in the day we have been told about the whole thing, we can only violently oppose because we are so angry.

“We are not by nature NIMBYs. If an ‘in principle’ discussion had happened at an early date, some sort of compromise might have been workable.

“We are hurt that we were not told until the last possible moment. What makes us furious is the scale of what they propose. We feel sad about it.”

Festival organiser Alasdair Adam said: “The house has been consulted throughout the application process. We have a meeting at the house this weekend to discuss the proposal.

“We’ve agreed to add extra security, fencing, marshals and a dedicated noise monitor next to the house for the duration of the festival. These are purely for peace of mind of residents of Holmbush House rather than any issues with the plans. The actual festival site itself is half a kilometre from the house and stages are facing away from the house and into the forest.

“We want to assure all local residents of our commitment to their security and welfare before, during, and after the festival, and hope that this family-friendly event brings welcome business to the Horsham area.”

The licensing application, lodged by Brighton-based events company Fire and Ice Productions, suggests the event could be annual.

It includes ‘proposals to sell alcohol by retail for consumption on the premises, plays, films, performance of dance, late night refreshment, recorded and live music each August Bank Holiday per year’.

The public is able to respond during the consultation period, which lasts until March 10.

A council spokesperson said: “During the consultation period, the responsible authorities will discuss with the applicant any changes required to the application.

“If the required changes are not agreed, the pertinent agencies will submit representation against the grant of the licence.

“Where there is a disagreement between the applicant and others, the application will be referred to a licensing sub committee to determine the application.

“This is done in public and all interested parties are invited to attend the hearing and make their representation in person.”

Tickets are on sale, with more information available on the festival’s website.

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