BoomTown landowner gets green light for licence, may push for increased noise levels

The meeting heard that noise complaints dropped dramatically.

The meeting heard that noise complaints dropped dramatically.

First published in Winchester

THE owner of the site of a major music festival looks set to push for increased noise levels.

Licensing chiefs met in Winchester today to review Peveril Bruce’s licence to stage events at his Matterley Bowl estate, just outside Winchester, following several noise-related breaches at last year’s BoomTown festival.

The meeting heard that noise complaints dropped from 80 in 2012, to 12 in 2013, although Mr Bruce’s lawyer accpeted that this may in part have been due to changes in wind direction. The licence was renewed with some further conditions attached.

The committee gathers again tomorrow to consider the licence of Boomtown themselves, who want to increase capacity from 30,000 in 2013, to 38,000 this year, and to 45,000 in 2015 and 49,999 in 2016.

That meeting coincides with the inquest today of Eleanor Rowe, 18, from Glastonbury, who died at BoomTown on August 8 last year. The possible cause is ketamine and alcohol toxicity.

Speaking after yesterday’s meeting, Mr Bruce said: “We’re proud of the cultural diversity we bring and we work bloody hard to minimise the impact of BoomTown on the community.

“The nationally accepted noise level for these events is 70dB and we’re operating on an imposed level of 65dB. We strive to manage the effect on the community, but equally, if you’re allowed to do 30mph in a 30mph, you should be able to go 30mph.”

He added: “There is always going to be someone who complains. There is no activity in the world that everybody agrees with.”

The new licence agreement includes a condition that Mr Bruce will submit a post-event evaluation.

Opponent David Pain, from Cheriton, said the number of events that Mr Bruce is allowed to stage at the Matterley Bowl should be cut from 24 days to just nine.

Peter Kilmister, of Tichborne, in a letter to the council, said the Matterley events had a history of crime, disorder, traffic problems, litter, deaths due to illegal drug abuse...anti-social behaviour and harm to wildlife: “The whole situation is unacceptable. We are victims. The perpetrators are able to continue unabated.”

But many locals have said disruption from the event is acceptable and Chris Sparkes, of Alresford Road, opposite the BoomTown site, said noise pollution and organisation had improved in recent years.

Karen Wells, director of the Chestnut Horse pub in Easton, said the event brings in extra business.

“The event is well planned and excellently executed. Each year the organisers have listened to the concerns of the local communities and adapted or improved plans,” she said.

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