Vil­lagers’ fears on mu­sic and science fes­ti­val plan

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH - STU­ART GREER

RES­I­DENTS of a ru­ral vil­lage have ex­pressed fears over a forth­com­ing mu­sic and science fes­ti­val in their com­mu­nity.

More than 15,000 mu­sic and science fans are set to de­scend on Lower Withing­ton for the Blue­dot Fes­ti­val.

The three-day event in the grounds of Jo­drell Bank will see big name bands per­form in­clud­ing elec­tronic mu­sic leg­end JeanMichel Jarre, as well as lec­tures, com­edy, art in­stal­la­tions, a plan­e­tar­ium and even ro­bot work­shops.

But res­i­dents of the vil­lage, which has a pop­u­la­tion of 500, are wor­ried at the prospect of vast num­bers of rev­ellers ar­riv­ing in the area, booze be­ing on sale into the small hours and the im­pact on the com­mu­nity, farm­ers and the Emer­gency Ser­vices.

Lower Withing­ton Par­ish Coun­cil wrote to Cheshire East Coun­cil ex­press­ing ‘real con­cerns’ of the scale, tim­ing and lo­ca­tion of the fes­ti­val.

The let­ter by chair­man Dr Paul Duffy was con­sid­ered by the coun­cil’s li­cenc­ing com­mit­tee, which granted the li­cence for the event.

Dr Duffy said the con­cern was that the fes­ti­val would have a ‘detri­men­tal im­pact’ on res­i­dents, adding: “The par­ish coun­cil have no ob­jec­tion to the event tak­ing place and re­alise that it can be a great ex­pe­ri­ence for those at­tend­ing. We would just like to en­sure the par­ish doesn’t ex­pe­ri­ence too much dis­rup­tion to their day to day life and that event con­trollers, by cur­tail­ing the hours that they have asked for, en­sure we can all work and live to­gether with­out too many prob­lems.”

The ap­pli­ca­tion from Blue­dot was orig­i­nally to sell al­co­hol un­til 4am, but in light of com­plaints it amended the limit to 3am.

But the coun­cil didn’t feel it went far enough and re­stricted booze sales to 2am. A spokesman for Blue­dot, which has run the suc­cess­ful Live from Jo­drell Bank se­ries since 2011, said it had good re­la­tion­ship with res­i­dents, farms and busi­nesses, adding: “We want to es­tab­lish blue­dot as an in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed fes­ti­val tak­ing place an­nu­ally at Jo­drell Bank, in or­der for this to hap­pen we need the sup­port of lo­cal busi­nesses and res­i­dents.”

Blue­dot has promised to write to all res­i­dents giv­ing them more in­for­ma­tion and a 24 hour hot­line num­ber to deal with their com­plaints.

The firm have also promised to hold a de-brief with res­i­dents ahead of any 2017 event.

Howard Bar­low

●● The Lovell tele­scope at Jo­drell Bank

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