CIVIC chiefs have refused an application for a new premises for a music festival near Alresford.

As previously reported, Brockwood Entertainment applied to hold a festival over four days at Joans Acre Land, Hinton Ampner, with the application covering the sale of alcohol for consumption during the event and the showing of regulated entertainment.

However, the application was refused by Winchester City Council’s licensing sub-committee on Wednesday, April 10.

Applicant Alastair Morton told the committee that the festival, which had previously been held in 2021 and 2022, aimed to raise money for the mental health charity MIND, and that it had not been held in 2023 so money could be raised to turn it into a more professional, annual event.

Speaking in objection, David Pain, of Cheriton Parish Council, said: “My parish council objects strongly to this application.

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“The Boom Town music festival started a few years ago and was a small event for a few people over a couple of days. Now it hosts thousands of people and is held for almost a week.

“We are worried that the Brockwood Music Festival is an attempt to make a smaller Boom Town.”

Objecting to the plans on behalf of the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust, based at neaby Brockwood Park, James Rankin called the licensing application “not good enough”, saying “It is rare that one comes across a licensing application which is so poorly put together.”

Hampshire Chronicle: James Rankin addressing the sub-committeeJames Rankin addressing the sub-committee (Image: Chris Atkinson)

Mr Rankin continued to say that the applicant’s lack of experience in the prior festivals in 2021 and 2022 is no excuse.

He said: “What we do know, for a festival that was four times smaller than the one you are being asked to grant a licence for, there were repercussions. And it’s not just about a person carving their initials into an ancient oak.

“It isn’t just about people, drunken and/or drugged trespassing on the grounds of the centre and the school in the early hours of the morning. It isn’t about music being played so loudly that the windows of the accommodation where they live 100 metres away from the site rattle. It isn’t about people that have come from across the world to attend a retreat saying that it isn’t what they expected. It’s the combination of all those things.

“And that, I regret to say, is why this application must be refused.”

Mr Rankin also disputed the noise management report conducted by F1 Acoustics for the applicant, calling it inadequate.

Speaking against Mr Rankin’s remarks, Jon Paine, the legal representative for the applicant, said: “This application has received a fair amount of criticism. However, the criticism itself is not fair.

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“The application itself is not poor and it addresses many of points (brought up by objectors).”

Mr Paine said that the environmental health officer for the city council had not raised any objections to the noise management report produced by F1 Acoustics for the applicant, despite Mr Rankin and expert witness Peter Rogers both saying the report was inadequate.

The licensing sub-committee refused the application due to concerns about the lack of provision to ensure noise levels were kept to a minimum and concerns over public nuisance.

Applicant Alastair Morton told the Chronicle after the meeting: “We are devastated by the decision. We felt the application took into account all obligations.”