The events have been banned from a Hertfordshire village where residents complained about festival-goers having sex in car parks and a parish councilor said he got ‘quite stoned’ on cannabis smoke
Image: Hertfordshire Constabulary/Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council WS)
Festivals have been banned from a village after neighbors complained of punters having sex in car parks, drinking driving and smoking cannabis in the street.
A license which allowed up to 12 events a summer to take place in Northaw in Hertfordshire has been revoked after the borough council received 200 complaints last summer.
Police reported someone driving into a crowd of people after getting into a fight at one event, while a parish councilor who had gone to complain about noise said he was left “quite stoned” on second-hand cannabis smoke.
Festival operator Joshua Silver of Huds10 Ltd had been permitted to hold a dozen events on Colesdale Farm over the summer months with a capacity of 5,000 people under the licence.
Following complaints, he and other organizers had offered to half the number of events, each with a 3,000 capacity, and agreed to more conditions to limit complaints about traffic and noise, Hertfordshire Live reports.
But on council Wednesdaylors rejected the proposed compromise after hearing reports from residents of festival goers antics and of performers being heard clearly inside their homes.
The decision follows a meeting in September where the borough council rejected a plan from a separate operator to host 12 separate festivals on an adjacent site in the village.
The borough council’s environmental health department applied for the license review, saying they received 200 complaints in relation to events between July and September 2021, with noise, traffic, anti-social behavior and litter issues all reported. Environmental health officers claimed that while investigating the complaints, they found nearby residents could clearly hear the music from the festival site including foul language being picked up in one child’s bedroom.
The police also supported the review, citing issues relating to traffic and crime and disorder at events last year, describing scenes of hundreds of pedestrians walking along a national speed limit road as “unacceptably dangerous”.
Alex Kettle-Stupka of Hertfordshire Constabulary, also mentioned one fight that started inside the festival led to an individual driving into a crowd, causing one person grievous bodily harm, before they then collided with another vehicle in traffic. Following this, another fight started involving “a significant number of people” which remains under investigation.
Mr Kettle-Stupka added there had been 10 incidents within 100m of the festival site last year, and said: “I hope this review can halt that trend, indeed an indication being since the venue stopped holding events for the winter period, the crimes have also stopped”.
During Wednesday’s meeting, councilors also heard from members of the public who raised concerns about “gridlock” on the roads and said they were unable to leave the village on event days.
Northaw and Cuffley Parish councillor Barry Knichel claimed the commitments made during the 2020 license review did not make any difference to the noise in the village, and said as events grew in size after Covid restrictions.
He said: “Whereas the 2020 events were all about noise nuisance, the 2021 events brought a whole new dimension to the nuisance by creating a no go area. To suggest that one or two events will be allowed is like telling people they have to vacate their homes for just one or two days.
“These events can, and do, make nearby homes uninhabitable, it’s not my words but from those who have lived through it. There’s no justification why people should be expected to have their homes be part of an intimidating and disruptive environment.”