Ahead of a hearing on 13 February, Shropshire Council has issued paperwork to those that have made representations about the application by Ludlow Rugby Club for a licence for alcohol and events from 8:00am to 1:00am for the clubhouse, the two pitches behind the club and the new car park area. These would apply 365 days a year.

Since the submission of the application, discussions have resolved a set of provisional conditions on the new licence. The number of large events will be restricted to three a year and outdoor activities must end 11pm. Small events will be limited to eight a year.

There are conditions on noise too, including a ban on fireworks. However, some conditions on security are onerous, such as requiring bag and people searches. Many events, such as the Spring Food Festival, rely on volunteers to steward festivals, not SIA qualified staff.

Events will be restricted to a smaller area than first proposed.

The September Food Festival will be held in the Castle.

Licenced area in red

The licenced area has been halved in size to ensure that events are further away from houses on the Linney. This is welcome and will reduce noise nuisance.

There are four pages of agreed conditions set out by Lanyon Bowlder, which represents the rugby club. Those relating to the number and duration of events are:

  • The number of events with over 500 persons in attendance (other than rugby matches) will be limited to three a year.
  • Two of these events can span three days provided the finish time for the public is no later than 21:00.
  • The other one event can be no longer than two days with a finish time no later than 23:00.
  • There must be at least 21days between events.
  • All windows and doors will be kept closed after 23:00 until the end of trading except for immediate access.
  • The outside area must be cleared of patrons by 23:00 and remain clear until the end of trading. Patrons may use the designated smoking area as shown in the plan (yellow).
  • No alcohol in open containers will be permitted in external areas after 23:00 unless they are taken to the designated smoking area and only consumed while patrons are engaged in smoking.

This applies to events. They are broadly in line with the restrictions I proposed in my representation to licencing and I think they are reasonable.

The police have added a number of conditions, which apparently have been agreed. They include for events of over 500 people:

  • There will be one SIA qualified staff to guests on a ratio of 1:200 during opening hours who will control the number of guests by an auditable clicker system (record numbers of attendees on site during opening hours) and complete people and bag searches.
  • Admission to events shall be through approved entrances. The entrances shall be staffed by SIA registered security staff with two SIA security staff to each entrance point and search point area. All event tickets will be checked by door staff on entry.

These conditions pose a challenge for events like the Spring Food Festival, where stewarding has been by volunteers. And bag searches on entrance are likely to have a chilling effect. What will security do if someone had a bottle of gin they had bought from the Ludlow Market before attending the event? Confiscate it?

(Clarification: The Spring Festival does retain SIA staff but the question remains about whether everyone must be subject to a body and bag search as specified in the draft conditions.)

These conditions need to be modified, perhaps to include a risk assessment for events before imposing a requirement on event organisers to employ security staff.

There are conditions from Shropshire Council’s environmental protection team relating to noise at events:

  • During periods when regulated entertainment is taking place outside, the Designated Premises Supervisor or authorised staff member will conduct a noise patrol to ensure that the music volume will not give rise to unreasonable noise disturbance affecting nearby residents, including subjective impressions of the volume when stood at the boundary of the nearest property, which must be recorded with a note of any corrective action taken.
  • Events with less than 500 persons in attendance in the external area will be limited to eight a year where such events include live and recorded music.
  • Any event taking place in a structure such as a marquee which has minimal sound attenuation would be considered an outdoor event.

The council’s public protection team add conditions for events where attendance levels have the potential to exceed 1,000 people at any one time:

  • Event organisers must consult with the council’s Safety Advisory Group (SAG) three months before an event.
  • An event management plan must be submitted to SAG two months before the event.
  • No fireworks will be permitted on the premises.

These are reasonable and the ban on fireworks welcome.

Final details of conditions on the licence will be agreed at a hearing in Shirehall at 10am on 13 February. Only those who have already made written representations can speak at the hearing, though others can attend to observe. Licencing committees are not live streamed.

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