AS MANY as 3,000 festival-goers could visit a town centre after an events licence was given the go-ahead.
Despite objections concerning noise, drug-taking, anti-social behaviour and car-parking, Flintshire councillors yesterday granted Mold Town Council the right to host large events on green space close to the town centre.
Up to 10 days of events can now be held on Maes Bodlonfa Recreation Field, Kendrick’s Field and Mold Ornamental Park.
The occasions can include the playing of live and recorded music from 10am to 10pm and the selling of alcohol from 10am to 9.30pm.
One of the first events planned is a three-day Blues and Soul festival during the first week of August.
Former Mold mayor, Cllr Robin Guest, told Flintshire’s licensing committee the town wanted to be known as “a festival town”.
“Mold, like any other small town, has to find new ways of attracting visitors if it is to survive,” he said. “Traders say conditions are fragile and maintaining vibrancy is key.”
The application by the town council was for up to 10 occasions each year, of an unspecified number of days, from 10am to 10.30pm.
Cllr Guest said residents, traders and visitors “overwhelmingly” supported their plan for a specific events area in the town.
Ten sites had been considered “in detail” for the Sense of Place report in 2010 and Kendrick’s Field was the “best option”, particularly because of its proximity to the town centre.
He said the town had already held events successfully including the town carnival and a music festival with “no complaints”.
Mold town councillor Anthony Parry told committee members “anything different we do brings in visitors to the town who then come back to shop in the town”.
And Cllr Geoff Collett said stewards would be able to control any anti-social behaviour.
But resident Glyn Hollywell, who lives adjacent to Kendrick’s Field, said anti-social behaviour would be made worse.
“These areas are honeypots for drugs all year round and in the summer for boozers,” he said, adding people also urinated on his family’s fence and hedge.
“Our concern is the mix of late hours and alcohol may exacerbate this problem whatever safeguards are promised.”
He also voiced concerns about the lack of clarity over how long an ‘occasion’ might last for and said residents’ ability to enjoy family time would be affected.
“We love all kinds of music but I don’t want to listen to it from 10am to 10pm for three days,” he said.
When resident Stephen Thomas raised concerns about car parking and asked how many people the venue could hold, town centre manager Dave Hill said a capacity in excess of 3,000 would be managed “without any problem” but for the August festival the target figure was 1,000 and visitors would be directed to use the town car parks.
Mr Hollywell said the area would be “jam-packed”.
Mr Hill said anti-social behaviour was not a pertinent issue because it was something that was “ongoing” and it was unfair to be asked to “restrict something that hasn’t already happened”.
“All the evidence is we’ve managed things in the past in the right way,” he said.
But he added if there were any problems they could be brought to the town council’s attention and they would be addressed.
Resident Kevin Powell voiced concerns about events in the ornamental gardens which currently closed at 7pm daily and asked for a clause to limit activities in that area.
After consideration with fellow committee members and Flintshire Council’s head of legal services Peter Evans, Cllr Tony Sharps announced a licence would be granted with eight conditions.
Rather than 10 occasions, the licence would allow for 10 days of events each year, ending at 10pm rather than 10.30pm and any events in the ornamental garden would end by 7pm.
Other conditions included an end to alcohol sales at 9.30pm.
After the meeting Cllr Guest said he was “pretty happy” with the outcome and said the reduced hours would not make events unviable.