Salcombe Hill camping site - article in Sidmouth Herald, 3 Jan 2014.

This article hints at possible legal action to challenge the decision by EDDC to grant a licence to FolkWeek for their new campsite. The threat of legal action seems unlikely to come to anything.

Logically, since the major risk to residents and attendees may be from inadequate traffic arrangements and given that no details were made available to the meeting on 10 December, an appeal might be thought worthwhile. But DCC is apparently not a statutory consultee for the EDDC process and the 'approval' from DCC may have been from a junior official who was unfamiliar with both the amount of pedestrian and vehicular traffic that FolkWeek produces and the dangerous nature of the roads in question.

We have the position (apparently) that EDDC can grant a licence despite that major safety concerns may not have been adequately addressed and despite that the remit of EDDC is to include public safety! This inadequate system probably keeps bureaucrats in comfortable jobs shuffling paper around while out in the real world, festival attendees (and the reputation of the festival) can be subjected to risks that are easily foreseen.

As is normal in 'public service', as long as all the boxes are ticked, procedures are followed to the letter and their pensions continue to accumulate wealth, the staff of our local councils will be contented!

What needs to change is that events of this type should need to show a competent and detailed traffic management plan as an integral part of any licensing procedures. If multiple injuries or fatalities result as a consequence of inadequate planning or arrangements, an inquest or other inquiry might suggest changes.

This is the usual tedious way that Councils are forced to adopt revised procedures in the best interests of the people whom they purport to serve.

FolkWeek plan set for court challenge

OBJECTORS plan to challenge in court a decision to grant a licence for Sidmouth FolkWeek's main base to move to Salcombe Hill.

An anonymous letter sent to the Herald says residents have launched a formal complaint with East Devon District Council (EDDC) alleging 'procedural irregularities and bias' in its decision. Event organisers last month told a licensing committee that a traffic management plan had been approved by Devon County Council (DCC) the previous day, but it could not be presented at the meeting as it had not been finalised.

Protestors said approving the application without it was 'disgraceful' and claim the rules were 'completely ignored'. They say this could be enough to overturn the decision - and even take it before magistrates.

An EDDC spokesman said: "Traffic management issues were undoubtedly of concern to Salcombe Hill residents making representations against the grant of the licence. Although DCC is not a statutory consultee on licensing applications, the applicant needs to work with DCC on traffic management issues."

"There is no legal requirement for a formal, written documented traffic management plan to be available to the licensing subcommittee at the time of the hearing. The licensing subcommittee was aware DCC considered the traffic proposals fit for purpose.

"The formal traffic management plan will be lodged with EDDC in advance of FolkWeek, in line with the normal approach to event management. The Licensing Act provides for an appeal to the Magistrates' Court by local residents who lodged objections before the hearing took place."

FolkWeek organisers plan to move from their long-standing base at Bulverton to Salcombe Hill to allow the festival to expand and continue to compete with other events. The new 13-acre site has been granted a licence to provide entertainment and refreshment into the early hours to 1,500 revellers.

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