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Licence review for Newbury Real Ale Festival after objections following 2021 event



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The Newbury Real Ale Festival is under threat.

A licence objection has been lodged against the event with claims that it encourages criminal behaviour and disorder.

A Crowdfunder page has been launched to help pay the legal bills to fight the objection.

This year's festival saw 4,000 enjoying the event. Ref: 37-1721
This year's festival saw 4,000 enjoying the event. Ref: 37-1721

Further grounds on which the council has been asked to review the licence are that the event constitutes a public nuisance because of excess and continuous noise levels throughout the day and late into the evening.

The objection also says the event is potentially harmful to children because of excessive alcohol intake around children in attendance, and abusive language being used within earshot of children resident in the area.

In addition, it says sleep of younger children is disrupted by the excess noise.

Debbie and Chris Monger with their children Peggy (5) and Sonny (3) at Newbury Real Ale Festival last month. Ref: 37-1721
Debbie and Chris Monger with their children Peggy (5) and Sonny (3) at Newbury Real Ale Festival last month. Ref: 37-1721

The public are now being asked to submit their views to West Berkshire’s licensing authority. An online survey, asking how often they visited the festival, if they have ever taken children along or whether the event encourages criminal behaviour and disorder, has already closed but residents still have until the end of today (Friday) to email a submission to licensing@westberks.gov.uk.

Vinnie Butler, chairman of Newbury and Thatcham Hockey Club, which helps organise the event, said: "We will work with the licensing authority, police, environmental health and all statutory bodies to do what is best for the community.

"We only do things for a positive outcome; we consider it a benefit to the community.

"We have a phoneline for the local residents during the led up, on the day and afterwards. We pick up litter all through the town afterwards too.

Newbury & Thatcham Hockey Club volunteers Edward Henstridge, Vinny Butler and Neil McCullen at this year's Newbury Real Ale Festival. Ref: 37-1721
Newbury & Thatcham Hockey Club volunteers Edward Henstridge, Vinny Butler and Neil McCullen at this year's Newbury Real Ale Festival. Ref: 37-1721

"We want people to wake up the next morning and all that's left is the good memories."

The festival, which takes place for one day in September, is billed as the biggest one-day beer festival in the South of England.

Now in its second decade, it is run as a community event, supporting local breweries and musicians, and raising money for local charities.

Fiona and Jon Barrett, from Hermitage, with their children Scarlett (7) and William (5) at this year's event. Ref: 37-1721
Fiona and Jon Barrett, from Hermitage, with their children Scarlett (7) and William (5) at this year's event. Ref: 37-1721

The 2021 festival has only just taken place in Newbury, having been cancelled last year because of Covid.

On its Facebook page, the festival says it hopes to expand the scale of the event next year.



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