Anger at bid to extend duration of festival event

The Spiegeltent in Chapelfield Gardens is the centrepiece of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. The Spiegeltent in Chapelfield Gardens is the centrepiece of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

Mark Shields mark.shields@archant.co.uk
Thursday, February 13, 2014
8:59 AM

People living near the centrepiece of Norwich’s premier cultural festival have reacted angrily to an application which could see it run two days longer than last year.

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Residents in Chapelfield Gardens say loud music late at night from the Norfolk and Norwich Festival’s Spiegeltent leaves their windows shaking, stops children from sleeping and even leads to some of them leaving their homes for the duration of the event.

However, festival bosses insist they abide by strict guidelines and will work with residents to minimise disruption for them.

The residents’ objections come as Norwich City Council’s licensing sub-committee prepares to make a decision on the 2014 festival’s Spiegeltent, which could be extended by two days to run between May 14 and May 25 – although this is still shorter than the 16 days it ran for in 2012.

The festival has applied for a licence for music, live performances and sale of alcohol until 1am between Monday and Thursday, until 2am on Friday and Saturday and midnight on Sunday, with the site closing 30 minutes afterwards.

In a written submission to the committee, Lindy Button, secretary of the Chapelfield Gardens Residents’ Association, said: “Our residents’ lives have been seriously disturbed on previous occasions by the commotion caused late at night and early in the morning as a result of the operation of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival Spiegeltent.”

She said the Spiegeltent PA system had been “perfectly audible” through closed windows at night in previous years, and that the noise of toilets being emptied disturbed residents in the mornings. The association has requested that all activities end by 11.30pm and the site is cleared by midnight, saying that the late-night activities have no “real added cultural value”.

Mrs Button added: “The funfairs which take place regularly in Chapelfield Gardens and other occasions – as on the occasion of the annual Lord Mayor’s Celebrations – do not need to go on late into the night. We do not see why an exception needs to be made in the case of the festival.” A spokesman for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival said noise from the outdoor café was capped at 11pm each night, and later music inside the Spiegeltent was subject to environmental health regulations.

“Almost all applications receive an objection and the festival is very keen to work with residents to minimise the disruption and inconvenience,” he added.

A decision will be made on the application on February 26.

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