Villagers voice unhappiness over BoomTown growth

Picture by Ian Hinchliffe.

Charlie Mitchell and Flo King. Picture by Ian Hinchliffe.

Spinning the decks at BoomTown. Picture by Ian Hinchliffe.

First published in Winchester Hampshire Chronicle: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

VILLAGERS are unhappy over the future growth of BoomTown where a woman died last weekend.

An estimated 38,000 revellers attended BoomTown Fair at the Matterley Estate, and it is set to grow to 50,000 in 2016.

In a letter to city council leader, Rob Humby, Brendan Gibbs of Tichborne Parish Council requested the festival finishes early in future.

It read: “The parish council has suggested on many occasions that we think it reasonable to request the festival finishes on the Saturday night.

“Had the event finished on Saturday night the traffic could have left the site on Sunday without causing anywhere near the disruption witnessed here on Monday. We did suggest this when the licence was considered but were ignored.”

Itchen Valley Parish Council chairman, Penny Flemons, said: “The management of the event is improving generally, but we don’t want to see it getting bigger yea-on-year.”

On Monday the M3 and A272 faced congestion, and the A31 between the Alresford and Percy Hobbs roundabouts was reduced to one lane.

Revellers were redirected through Twyford, along Morestead Road and past Owslebury.

Richard Sellars, one of the owners of Twyford Stores in the High Street, said the prediction of 750 campervans and 70 coaches running through rural roads turned out to be “a storm in a teacup”.

“There were no rowdy festival-goers, the traffic was relatively quiet, and we are big supporters of this festival,” he said.

Twyford Parish Council chairman, Waine Lawton, said: “All the problems we anticipated simply didn’t materialise.”

On Saturday, Lisa Marie Williamson was found hanged in a toilet and later pronounced dead at Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

The 31-year-old from Bromyard, Hereford, was at the event with her husband Darren, and was found just before 2pm.

An inquest was opened on Tuesday morning in Winchester, said a spokesman for the Central Hampshire Coroner.

He said the cause of death was hanging, with further investigation to be made.

It is not being treated as suspicious.

The full inquest will be held in Winchester on October 7.

Last year 18-year-old Ellie Rowe died at the festival after taking horse tranquiliser ketamine.

Police yesterday released statistics about the event. They seized drugs valued at £70,000, compared to £120,000 last year, and £123,000 in 2012. Sixty people were arrested and there were 64 reported tent thefts.

In 2013, 11 people were arrested for possession and intent to supply, and police dealt with 238 people for other drug offences, including arrests, fixed penalties and warnings.

Chief Inspector Ian Whyton, who oversaw policing, said: “I’m pleased that these initial statistics reflect a successful policing operation at BoomTown this year.”

The city council has received eight noise complaints, the same as 2013.

A spokesman said: “There were only two occasions over the weekend on which the monitored noise levels exceeded the levels agreed in licence conditions. These were resolved immediately on notification to the event managers.”

Comments (2)

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5:42pm Sat 16 Aug 14

retiredoldgit says...

It's only once a year and Tichborne is nearly 3 miles from the Matterley site. Surely the countryfolk of Tichborne can put up with one weekend of distant music without complaining...
It's only once a year and Tichborne is nearly 3 miles from the Matterley site. Surely the countryfolk of Tichborne can put up with one weekend of distant music without complaining... retiredoldgit
  • Score: 4

7:52pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Cheriton resident says...

Retiredoldgit, how apt, doesn't seem to realise that there are 2 premises licences for Matterley Bowl which allow up to 28 days of events each year so "one weekend" is incorrect. Furthermore, on 2 of the 4 nights of Boomtown, the amplified music is allowed until 4.00 am. Does he think this is reasonable?
Retiredoldgit, how apt, doesn't seem to realise that there are 2 premises licences for Matterley Bowl which allow up to 28 days of events each year so "one weekend" is incorrect. Furthermore, on 2 of the 4 nights of Boomtown, the amplified music is allowed until 4.00 am. Does he think this is reasonable? Cheriton resident
  • Score: 0

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