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Hockwold Music Festival 'Paradise Gardens' given go-ahead despite police objections

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Plans for a music and lifestyle festival to return have been given the go ahead by the local council, against the advice of Norfolk Police.

A premises licence for the Paradise Gardens festival to sell alcohol, play live music, exhibit films and provide late-night refreshments has been officially granted by West Norfolk Council.

The event, which will be hosted on land off Cowles Drove in Hockwold, took place for the first time in that location last September.

The King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council Office
The King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council Office

Its proposed return this September, and on the same basis each year afterwards, had attracted opposition from six neighbours, the parish council and the police.

The police warned that the festival’s marketing gave an impression to the public that the event would be “drugs tolerant”, while neighbours’ concerns tended to be more focused on noise pollution.

But in a decision notice published last week, the borough’s licensing sub-committee said that after “careful consideration of the written and oral evidence” from both sides, they had resolved to grant the licence.

The licence comes with a strict set of conditions, which were suggested by the police as a second-best option to refusing the licence.

These include requirements for drug amnesty bins to be positioned prominently at the festival entrance, searching as a condition of entry – along with random searches conducted throughout the event – and prominent signage and messaging to be displayed both on the site and on the festival’s website and social media, reminding ticket-holders that drugs won’t be tolerated.

An extra condition placed on the organisers will mean they have to “make such arrangements as are necessary to prevent access to properties off Cowles Drove by patrons of the event”.

The sub-committee said it had been persuaded by the applicant’s assurance that the event would be “well managed”.

They noted the festival’s plans to “orientate the speakers in such a manner that will minimise noise nuisance”, which they said they hoped would help reduce the impact on neighbours.

They added they were “pleased to hear that the applicant was endeavouring to procure a shuttle bus service from the local train station to the event location in an attempt to reduce the amount of traffic attending the event”.