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Newbury Real Ale Festival gets its licence back

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The Newbury Real Ale Festival will run again – after a battle to get its licence renewed

But it has stricter conditions and will get a ticking off from West Berkshire Council for being too loud.

The conditions are that the licence holder has to communicate better with those living within a one-mile radius of the Northcroft Park event.

Mike Bagshaw and Pete Fahy at Newbury Real Ale Festival in September
Mike Bagshaw and Pete Fahy at Newbury Real Ale Festival in September

And that it provides a manned phone line while the event is in progress and takes action to resolve reported matters.

The decision has met with a muted response from those objecting to the licence for the one day event in September being renewed.

Local resident Andrew Wyper had lodged the objection to the festival licence, claiming excessive noise and bad behaviour.

“I am happy that the committee has taken seriously the concerns raised in respect of public nuisance caused by excess noise levels," he said.

"I am not convinced that the additional conditions imposed will make much difference and I am also surprised that it did not seem to unduly concern the council that their own enforcement was woefully inadequate on this occasion.

“I do note though that organisers have gone to a lot of effort in rebutting the issues raised and I believe that they will likely now be more focussed on reducing noise levels in the the future.

“I accept that there was insufficient evidence before the committee to demonstrate any risk to children, although I believe that the potential is there nonetheless based on the behaviour I witnessed.

“Should anything untoward occur in future, I believe the council's judgement may be called into question, given this is an event dedicated to the consumption of alcohol.

"Nevertheless, I accept the council's decisions on all points."

West Berkshire’s licensing sub-committee did not consider that there was sufficient evidence of issues in relation to public safety, the prevention of crime and disorder and the protection of children from harm.

The sub-committee noted the reassurances that had been made by the festival organisers as to improvements which were being considered for next year and considered that the review itself had already highlighted awareness of the issues in relation to noise.

The organisers assured the meeting last week that it would turn the stage back to the usual position, and apologised for busting sound limits imposed by the licence.

Nearly 200 people wrote in to the council over the matter – with 177 in favour of renewing the licence.

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