Following on from our quick action last week to alert local residents, I'm pleased to let you know that common sense has prevailed, and the application for the event on the Jim Evison playing field has been withdrawn!
That is great news for those of us who campaigned against it, whether that is me as the local MP, my Conservative colleagues Barry Estill and Hannan Sarwar, who are standing in this ward at the local elections in May, or the residents who raised their concerns with me and the Council.
This was never about whether there should be a two-day event in Wilmslow attracting 25,000 a day but about whether the Jim Evison playing field was the right venue for such a large-scale event. Local people had a number of issues, and I suspect some of those, particularly around parking, road safety, and disruption to local residents may have proved too challenging to resolve given the scale of the event.
I had planned to attend the licencing hearing on behalf of residents but the withdrawal means that won’t be necessary. I was particularly concerned that local residents hadn’t known about the application, and that is why we contacted themto ensure their views were paramount in the decision making process.
As your MP, I am happy to help when I can on any local issues - as are Barry and Hannan. Please get in touch if you think we can help with anything at all.
This week, a number of residents immediately adjacent to the Jim Evison playing field, on Altrincham Road, have contacted MP Esther McVey about a ‘premises licence’ application for the site.
The licence covers a 3 month period from May– August this year but is specifically for a 2 day music event, which at the moment has a provisional date of Friday and Saturday, 7th and 8th of July. The application covers 25,000 people visiting each day and is for live music from 4pm-10.30pm with sound checks from 10am.
Esther’s concern is that, aside from the few residents who have seen the notice on the field, very few of the people who are likely to be directly impacted (because of their proximity to the field) are aware of the event and therefore haven’t been able to comment within the consultation period, which closed earlier this week.
She asked the prospective Conservative Cheshire East Council candidates for the ward, Barry Estill and Hannan Sarwar to canvas some local addresses and they confirmed that most residents were unaware of the application.
Barry commented ‘I have knocked on a number of doors in the Pownall Park area and the only person who was aware of the application plays football there so had seen the notice by the field. He was concerned about potential damage to the pitches, on a notoriously wet site, reasonably close to the start of the new season’.
Hannan added: ‘Of the residents I spoke to, none were aware of the application and all were keen for more information’.
Esther says ‘Whether or not you are supportive of such a significantly sized event it is important that people who
are really local to the site are aware of it so that they can express an opinion either way’.
‘The issue is not whether a large commercial 2 day music event should happen in Wilmslow but whether that is the right location.
‘I have responded to the consultation directly and, based on the feedback from residents who have contacted me, raised concern about that size of event on a main arterial road into the town and the ensuing congestion, the lack of any adjacent parking provision (given the number of potential vehicles for 25,000 people) and the safety implications of that as well as the noise for those living by the field, who are only used to unamplified football and rugby players on those pitches’.
Esther has also raised concerns to Cheshire East Council that the consultation ran over the festive period (when people are generally less likely to notice and comment on applications).
Esther adds ‘I am writing to residents who are very local to the site, to make them aware of the application’.
Although the formal consultation has now closed, if people want to express a view either way, on the application, Esther is encouraging them to contact her.
She will collate the feedback and pass onto to the Cheshire East Ward Councillors who can elect to speak on behalf of residents at the Licensing Committee.