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Decision due on controversial Northwold events site licence bid

Plans which critics fear would enable "legal raves" to be held on a site in a West Norfolk village will go before councillors next week.

Dozens of residents in Northwold and other nearby villages have objected to the application for a premises licence relating to the Dove Barn site on Thetford Road.

But a report published ahead of the borough council licensing hearing which will decide the issue next Wednesday says no issues have so far been raised by the police or other public bodies.

West Norfolk councillors are due to rule on the application next week.
West Norfolk councillors are due to rule on the application next week.

There has been growing concern in recent weeks about the application, which has been submitted by Thomas Janes.

It seeks a premises licence which would allow for the sale of alcohol and the playing of music at the site on Fridays and Saturdays, between 11am and 11pm.

A report published ahead of the hearing said potential conditions for any licence had already been agreed with Mr Janes.

It added: "Functions or events which include the provision of alcohol, live or recorded music shall not exceed 12 occasions per year and 2 per calendar month."

But there have been growing concerns in recent weeks about the application, which objectors say is inappropriate for the area and would put the public at risk because of the ongoing threat of coronavirus.

A total of 58 representations from members of the public, which are overwhelmingly opposed to the proposal, are included in the report.

As well as residents of Northwold, people living in the neighbouring villages of Brookville and Methwold are also among the objectors.

And many highlighted the staging of an event at the application site in September, arguing the noise level was too high and nearby residents endured anti-social behaviour.

One of the objectors said: "There is very strong feeling against this application in our village of Northwold. I sincerely hope that the Licensing Committee understands why we do not want these licenses granted."

But Mr Janes' application form said: "The event organiser acknowledges their responsibility to plan, manage and monitor events to ensure that all staff, participants and the public are not exposed to health & safety risks."

He said event management plans would be drawn up and sound checks had been undertaken to ensure music is kept to a suitable volume.

And, while the parish council has launched a petition against the application, the report reveals that neither Norfolk Police nor any other statutory consulting body has so far made any representations about the application.

The publication of the report follows calls by ward councillor Tom Ryves for additional powers to be given to local authorities to prevent what he described as "legal raves" from taking place on public health grounds.

Borough council chiefs say central government action is needed before they can intervene.

The licensing hearing is due to take place next Wednesday, November 18, from 10am and will be available to view on the borough council's YouTube channel.

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