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Traffic fears over Fi.Fest plans

Concerns were aired as plans to expand a Fifield festival to hold up to 3,000 people went before a licensing panel yesterday (Wednesday).

The application for a field at Stroud Farm, home of Rinder Ltd, was heard at the licensing panel sub-committee meeting at Windsor Guildhall.

It is proposed that five events could be held at the location per year – the main event being Fi.Fest.

Last summer family festival Fi.Fest was held over two days in a different location in Fifield which attracted about 800 visitors.

Applicant Tracey Page said: “The nature of the Fi.Fest event that’s proposed this year differs in no material way from the event that we held last year, save that we’re asking for increased capacity and of course we’re asking for a slightly different location.

Ms Page went on to say that the increased attendance will enable it to ‘have more entertainment, more varied entertainment and generally up the standard of everything’.

She also explained that out of the five days she is proposing to have a license for, she currently only has plans to host Fi.Fest between Saturday, July 13- Sunday July 14.

An additional day might be used for sound checks on the Friday before the festival and the other two were potentially going to be used for a Christmas festival but nothing is yet planned.

Ms Page made a point that in her view, 3,000 attendees was not excessive when taking into account the fact that more than 3,000 people went to Holyport fair last year.

She said: “I hope that you can see that asking for a capacity of 3,000 people puts us squarely within the remit of a community event.”

Councillors on the licensing panel raised concerns about bridleways, emergency vehicles entering and exiting the site, traffic building up in Forest Green Road and the safety of children.

The applicants, who also own Smokeys in Maidenhead, outlined the provision they intend to put in place in response to all questions.

Speaking on behalf of the Bray parish council Cllr Ken Elvin said the new application was ‘a quantum leap in magnitude’.

His objection included concerns over ‘the possible effects of 1,500 -2,000 cars travelling to and from this venue’ and security and ticket checking will cause a back-up of traffic.

The parish council also sought ‘expert advice under previously agreed terms for dealing with complex applications’ which was circulated to the panel and the applicants.

Ms Page said: “What I really want to ask you is why didn’t Bray parish council come to us and ask us to explain the event?’

Cllr Elvin reiterated that the parish council were seeking advice given the complexity of the application.

Ms Page said: “Would you kind of agree now that it might have been a good idea to ask us in for consultation beforehand?”

She added: “Most of this we’ve explained.”

Cllr Elvin said: “I think there’s a lot of things that are in here that have been covered today and hopefully that bit of advice is of some use to you.”

Cllr Leo Walters (Con, Bray) also spoke in objection of the application and said: “This is a serious thing, this is a massive thing, this really is and it will affect the local people enormously.”

“There wasn’t even an attempt by the applicant to discuss it with the parish council so to blame the parish is a bit much” he added.

The decision made by the panel will be published in about five working days.

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