Legal raves may give villagers a headache

PUBLISHED: 10:40 10 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:45 31 May 2010

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SLEEPLESS nights and traffic chaos could be the outcome if up to 12 raves take place at Coldhams Farm in Rickling again this winter. Villagers are incensed that they will not be able to object to any applications that farm owner John Webster may make for

SLEEPLESS nights and traffic chaos could be the outcome if up to 12 raves take place at Coldhams Farm in Rickling again this winter.

Villagers are incensed that they will not be able to object to any applications that farm owner John Webster may make for temporary event notices (TENs) which would see a repeat of last year's late-night partying.

Rickling's district councillor, Peter Wilcock, said Uttlesford District Council has been consulted on the potential parties and he has spoken to many upset villagers who cannot believe the events can go ahead without the local community being able to make representations.

He said: "Under the new Licensing Act 2003, which came into effect from last November, the presumption is to grant the temporary licence unless there are strong objections from statutory bodies such as the police, environmental health or the Child Protection Agency.

"Unfortunately, local people who are adversely affected by the loud noise coming from the parties and the cars which come in large numbers and travel at dangerous speeds along winding, country lanes, have no power to object to the licences being granted."

The new law allows anybody to apply for up to 12 TENs, with five in the landowner's name, five in another name and two more in a third person's.

"The law was really introduced to allow village fetes and the like to be able to play music, but these parties can go ahead under the legislation as well, as long as there are no more than 499 people in attendance.

"Parties were held at the farm last year when the new law hadn't come into effect, so the loud music didn't require a licence and it would have been difficult to prove that alcohol was being sold on the premises."

One Rickling resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said the loud music at the parties on the Rickling Road farm last winter was unbearable.

She said: "They started at about 11pm and could go on until 10am the next morning, and sleeping was made absolutely impossible.

"The thudding, pounding and banging of the bass drove us crazy and it's not fair that we should have to tolerate it and be forced to accept it."

Saffron Walden PC Lisa Cox said she could not say if the police would object until a licence application was submitted, but that the event would be shut down if it were illegal.

Mr Webster declined to speak to the Reporter at the time of going to print.

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