The Duke of Beaufort has angered neighbors over plans to stage a series of concerts on the grounds of his Badminton Estate, which critics say could lead to ‘Glastonbury in the Cotswolds’.
Bunter Beaufort, who himself sings with a rock group called The Listening Device, began selling tickets on the Badminton website for Rod Stewart and The Who concerts on two Sundays in July, despite not having a license at the time.
Cotswold District Council later granted promoter Robomagic Live a license for the events to be held at Worcester Lodge – despite vociferous opposition from local residents.
To reassure residents of the neighboring villages of Didmarton and Sopwith, the estate has committed to holding the concerts just once a year, for a maximum of three days, with no camping allowed.
Thirty-nine residents of the villages closest to the concert hall had complained about the application, which included the provision of plays, films, live music, recorded music and dance.
The Duke of Beaufort has angered neighbors over plans to stage a series of concerts on the grounds of his Badminton Estate (pictured), which critics say could lead to ‘Glastonbury in the Cotswolds’
Bunter Beaufort (center), who sings himself with a rock group called The Listening Device, began selling tickets on the Badminton website for Rod Stewart and The Who concerts on two Sundays in July, despite not having a license at the time
They fear that their homes will reverberate with music between 12pm and 11:30pm on the days of the concert, and that the country lanes around the estate will be blocked by 25,000 rowdy concertgoers and traffic.
Nick Hare, who is chairman of Sopworth Parish Meeting and lives in the village, wrote: ‘I strongly object to this permit application as the venue in question is wholly unsuitable for events of the nature, scale and frequency under consideration.
“The proposals pose completely unacceptable risks in terms of crime and disorder, public safety, health and safety, nuisance, potential harm to residents and risks to the timely deployment of emergency services.
“The granting of a permit at this site, and the possible consequences thereof, will cause unjustified and wholly avoidable inconvenience and suffering to the residents of some neighboring villages, road users and the public.”
James Middleton, who lives in Didmarton, added: ‘I fear that issuing this open-ended license for a few concerts will quickly grow into events invading Didmarton and surrounding villages for many weekends throughout the year. You open Pandora’s box.
‘Do we/you really want ‘Glastonbury in the Cotswolds’ in the future?
‘The planned location is in the open ground surrounded by trees with pine forests in the south. The fire risk is high in the middle of summer.
“With an 11 to 12 a.m. liquor license, drunks camp out at night (no matter what the organizers say), increasing the likelihood of a major fire incident.
“In short, agreeing to this permit entails significant road safety and fire risks, in addition to the pollution, environmental and noise pollution that will invade all the villages around the proposed site.”
Fellow Didmarton resident Susan Ellis complained, ‘Why do the two big concerts have to be on a Sunday, creating a disturbance into the wee hours of Monday when adults and children need to be up on time for work and school?
“The company says the music will end at 11.30pm and they will have 25,000 people off the site, across the A433, in their cars and out of the village by 12am. [midnight]. This is downright ridiculous.
Westonbirt Arboretum hosts concerts with 5,000 to 7,000 people in attendance and it takes at least two hours to clear that lot with much smaller numbers and cars parked nearby.
“We are also concerned that alcohol will be on sale until midnight and that before and after the concert large numbers of visitors, probably drunk, will wander through the village, causing noise and litter. Getting them all to leave the village before midnight is impossible.’
And Antony Brassey, who lives in Didmarton, said: ‘The question that needs to be asked is whether this application is detailed enough for it to be enacted and enforced.
‘I suggest that in its comprehensive and merely vague sketch form it fails the test altogether. It is dangerously lacking in detail and should be rejected.”
In their permit application, the organizers stated that they would take all appropriate measures to ensure the events are safe and do not cause a nuisance to the community, including by monitoring fire safety in line with a risk assessment, minimizing disruption to local roads , and work to ensure participants leave peacefully.
The Cotswold District Council has already discussed the locals’ objections with the applicants, who have agreed to an earlier finish of 10.30pm, with an additional 30 minutes contingency in case the shows run out.
The Badminton estate and Robomagic did not respond to requests for comment.