Chelmsford events licence granted despite hefty opposition

Six large events such as secret cinemas and small festivals will be held across Chelmsford despite concerns that chaos stemming from festivals at the same place seen last year will repeat itself.

There had been considerable opposition to the plans, with amplified music between the hours of 1pm and 11pm on Saturday and Sunday including bank holidays at Wheelers Farm in Little Waltham.

The location is largely within the same footprint as events held during 2021 when considerable public nuisance was caused to the residents of Little Waltham from drunk festival goers and vehicles being abandoned in residential and unlit rural roads.

The owners of the farm who submitted the most recent application have subsequently agreed to all conditions including capping the maximum number of attendees at 1,500.

But Chelmsford City Council’s licensing committee added further conditions including restrictions that would limit the scope of the licence to six licensable activities held between April 30 and October 31 in any given year, none exceeding 13 hours in duration.

They also ruled that no event could take place if, within six weeks of submission by the applicant of a traffic management plan, Essex Police, the Licensing Authority, or Essex County Council Highways were to lodge an objection.

Another condition imposed comprehensive limitations and monitoring aimed at preventing noise nuisance.

The application followed two events held by a third party unrelated to the farm last year that led to a slew of complaints over drugs and concerns a serious road accident was going to happen with reports of drunk revellers staggering into the road and cars racing up and down Essex Regiment Way.

Resident Sam Sammour, who lives on Wheelers Hill, told the committee on Friday May 20: “Wheelers Farm is not a location fit for events. It is as simple as that which ever way you cut it this is not a place for events.

“It is a farm. It is not an event farm so I think the fundamental in any decision making is that the place is not fit for purpose.

“It is too close to the roundabout to really produce an effective traffic management.

“No matter what the organisers try to tell us over how organised they are they are not going to be able to hold traffic back.

“As residents we are going to experience blocked roads. Will ambulances be able to get through on time? What if something happens to me and my family? Can the fire service get here on time? I have a real a problem with the fundamentals. The place is not fit for purpose and is not safe.

“The second thing is that no matter how hard you try you are not going to be able to stop people leaving the place and going out walking .

“Where we are is not a safe location. It’s a 60mph road. The safety of the public cannot be guaranteed at night.”

A statement from the committee said: “In the circumstances, the Committee was satisfied with the steps that the applicant proposed to promote the licensing objectives – and that it was therefore appropriate to authorise the grant of the licence, subject to the proposed conditions referred to.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter