Secret Garden Party organisers apply for new licence

08:50 25 February 2014

The Big Burn, The pirate ship in the middle of the lake is set alight as part of Saturday night's firework display.

The Big Burn, The pirate ship in the middle of the lake is set alight as part of Saturday night's firework display.


Organisers of the Secret Garden Party music festival have applied for a new licence that would allow them to have up to 32,000 people on the site at Abbots Ripton Hall.

Backwoodsman Limited, organisers of the event, has had one-off licences for that number – both guests and workers – on land owned by Lord de Ramsey.

The firm, operated by Lord de Ramsey’s son Fred Fellowes, has asked Huntingdonshire District Council to make the arrangement permanent, subject to various conditions.

The new licence, which is ­recommended for approval by HDC officers, would allow for 21,000 patrons and 11,000 staff, crew and performers over five days.

Conditions imposed with the licence, should it be approved by HDC’s licensing committee on Thursday next week, would include submitting a strategy to manage noise from the site with a view of ­minimising the impact on nearby villages, such as Abbots Ripton, King’s Ripton and Wennington.

Noise monitoring equipment would still be installed in the villages and a ­dedicated phone line for noise complaints would continue to operate.

However, an email objecting to the granting of the licence suggested the phone line service was not up to scratch in previous years when nearby villages were subjected to “unacceptable” noise after midnight.

Michael Coles, of Woodwalton, said: “It is totally unacceptable that we residents should have to tolerate [so much noise after midnight] and the system for reporting the nuisance at the time by telephone has not been suitable for two years running.”

The application also attracted one email of support, from John and Judith Shrewsbury, of Abbots Ripton, praising the festival organisers for the measures it took to ensure they were not inconvenienced.

The Secret Garden Festival is set to take place from July 24-27.

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