A PROPOSAL to survey residents following the Wild Life Festival were rejected as a ‘complete waste of time’ by councillors on Tuesday.
UKIP Widewater councillor Geoff Patmore’s motion to the joint strategic committee of Adur and Worthing councils called for a four-ward survey after the first festival at Shoreham Airport in June.
He hoped the survey would mitigate what he termed as a ‘poor and incompetent’ initial consultation, which left residents just days to register their views on the licensing application by SJM Ltd.
But the committee rejected the idea, stating conditions imposed on the granted licence already included post-event consultation.
Councillor David Simmons said: “I think there are sufficient requirements, safeguards, and everything else contained not only within the conditions but also legislation to make the review being proposed a complete waste of time.”
Mr Patmore described meetings held by SJM to brief residents as a ‘sham’ and ‘akin to closing the door after the horse had bolted’.
I hope they [festival-goers] all get drugged and fall in the river and it’ll all be on your headsObjector storming out of meeting
He said: “The main reason for this motion is to give residents in the four wards, St Nicolas, Marine, Mash Barn and Widewater, a voice which was denied to them by incredibly poor and incompetent handling of the Wild Life Festival public consultation process.
“Ward councillors and residents should have been alerted as soon as the proposal for the event was known in late October or early November. This was a massive failure and reduced the consultation period from four weeks to four days.”
Emails circulated to the committee detailed an initial approach by SJM to directors in November, gauging the potential for the licence.
SJM urged directors to keep the event confidential until January but then submitted a licensing application the next day, placing the council in a ‘difficult position’ and triggering the licensing process before members were fully briefed.
Mr Simmons said conditions nine and ten on the 92-condition licence ensure a public meeting and debrief are held each year and a multi-agency group meeting must be held to review issues which arose.
Objections must also relate to four specific licensing objectives, which could then be used to call a legal review of the licence.
Before the motion was unanimously rejected, a group of residents stormed out.
One shouted: “I hope they [festival-goers] all get drugged and fall in the river and it’ll all be on your heads.”