East Herts District Council has today granted a premises licence for the Stone Valley South Festival, which is due to open this Friday.
This will be Stone Valley South's second year. Neville Stapley, former frontman of the Specials, and Bruce Foxton's From the Jam, are due to headline over the weekend. The organisers have successfully run the Stone Valley North Festival since 2012, with tickets for this year's edition selling out in two weeks.
The application was fiercely contested by Great Amwell Parish Council and residents in the neighbouring village of Stansted St Margarets. Their objections were principally concerned with noise nuisance and traffic congestion on the local road network.
By the time of the hearing, the police and environmental health objections had been resolved - subject to approval of a traffic management plan in the next few days.
However, the residents maintained their numerous objections. They urged the sub-committee to conclude that their village was simply not an appropriate location for an event of this scale and accused the applicant of being "dishonest" and of holding the licensing system in contempt.
The sub-committee disagreed. In granting a premises licence, they stated that they were satisfied that the conditions would ensure that the festival could proceed without undermining the licensing objectives. They rejected emphatically the suggestion that, in making their decision so close to the planned opening date, they were under any pressure to decide in the applicant's favour.
Unsurprisingly, the decision came as a great relief to the applicant, given that contractors had started work constructing the festival site this morning.
Matt Lewin represented the applicant, Wannasee Ltd. As a member of Cornerstone Barristers' renowned licensing team, Matt has advised and represented a number of music festivals in London and the south of England.