Beach festival faces late fight to go ahead

A two-day music festival in Southend set to attract 5,000 revellers is facing a last-minute fight to go ahead, after a host of objections were raised over noise and fears of trouble.

Southend Council’s licensing committee will decide whether the East Beach Festival, planned for August 13 and 14, can take place following 23 objections.

The festival will celebrate Southend’s city status and 60 years of Jamaican independence.

There will be a Jamaican market and reggae acts. Performers already announced include actress and singer Lorne Gayle.

However, a licensing hearing just days before the festival takes place will determine whether music can be played, performances can take place, and if alcohol can be sold.

Residents have complained about noise and disturbance ahead of the event.

Shoebury Residents’ Association vice-chairman Peter Lovett said: “They first put signs up with events for five weekends a year and all the bank holidays. They have cut it down to one weekend a year. Bank holidays are busy as it is so it would have been an absolute disaster to have events as well.

“If it is a success then people will accept it but if it’s a disaster we will challenge any drinks licence in the future.

“I can’t imagine the council won’t grant the licence because it would cost them a lot of money at this stage. You don’t always get 100 per cent of what you want but we’re happy with 99 per cent.”

The meeting will take place on Thursday next week, just two days before the festival is set to begin.

A council spokesman said: “The licensing application has been made by the council as the landowner to enable one, two-day event to be held each year at East Beach in Shoebury.

This will need to be reviewed by the council’s licensing committee as the local licensing authority.

“The first event this premises licence would cover would be the privately-organised East Beach Festival, which is due to start Saturday, August 13. As the application is yet to be discussed, it would be inappropriate to comment further on a live application.”

The spokesman added: “The Licensing Act sets out strict time restrictions as to when hearings can be held once the consultation on an application has concluded.

“The licensing authority is bound by these and so it was not possible to list the hearing earlier.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter

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