Proposed Chelmsford festival site deemed ‘unsafe’ by neighbours

By Piers Meyler - Local Democracy Reporter

30th Mar 2024 | Local News

The Wheelers Farm site, Chelmsford. (Photo: LDRS)
The Wheelers Farm site, Chelmsford. (Photo: LDRS)

Neighbours have urged Chelmsford council to reject an application for a festival of up to 3,000 people in Chelmsford on the grounds of traffic safety.

Organisers want permission to host up to 3,000 revellers at Wheelers Farm in Little Waltham. LDN Wild Ltd put on three events at Wheelers Farm in Little Waltham over the summer of 2023 with sizes ranging from 500 to around 1,400 attendees.

But they say the field can accommodate double that number.

However, the licensing committee heard how the event poses a risk to revellers, especially if they have consumed alcohol as they leave the site along Wheelers Hill.

Local resident Sam Sammour said at a meeting on March 21: "They cannot be let out up the road at night, unprotected, with cars coming. And where we are the speed limit is 60mph.

"So I think it is unsafe for that reason. My belief this licence should be rejected anyway on any increase for safety reasons.

"You cannot control people leaving the ground. They are being picked up by a taxi but they are having to walk up 300 yards.

"You are hoping 3,000 can be managed because you managed 1,500 well. There are no guarantees you will."

Organiser Matthew Blewitt said: "We have had three events and everything has run smoothly. We do have shuttle buses and free parking so I don't know why people would walk down the road when there is free parking.

"Our safety and security is very tight, we even have a dog unit on site."

Albeit under a different operator a previous festival in 2021 sparked concerns from Essex Police after considerable public nuisance was caused to the residents of Little Waltham by drunk festival goers and vehicles being abandoned in residential and unlit rural roads.

Mr Blewitt declined a suggestion to apply for a limit of 2,000 people. He said he had planned one festival for the maximum number allowed and another for 500 people this year.

He added: "We want to stay at 3,000 – for the site how big it is when we did hold 1,500 it was tiny for the field. We can easily manage 3,000."

     

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