New licence hearing over future of WOMAD near Malmesbury

Last year's WOMAD

Last year's WOMAD

First published in Malmesbury by , Devizes area senior reporter

Concerns about the WOMAD Festival, held near Malmesbury, will be discussed at a Wiltshire Council meeting on Friday.

Wiltshire Police have called for the review of the licence for the festival at Charlton Park.

It challenged this year’s licence but after eleventh hour talks with WOMAD’s organisers an agreement over security was reached and the festival, in its 30th year, went ahead in July.

The review of the licence will be considered by Wiltshire Council’s Northern area licensing sub-committee at Monkton Park offices, Chippenham, tomorrow at 9.30am.

The agenda states the grounds for the review are: ”WOMAD has failed to request special policing services that allow Wiltshire Police to produce an effective operational plan and have not provided within the event management sufficient detail by which the above licensing objectives will be promoted.”

The report says that the police and WOMAD have not yet reached agreement on the level of resources needed at the festival, although the event management plan has been amended to include an NHS ambulance manager to provide additional cover.

A statement from Wiltshire Police to the Gazette said: “Our over riding priority, as in previous years, is to ensure the safety and security of festival goers and of the public across the county.”
The report states that Wiltshire Council has received 67 emailed representations of support for WOMAD.

WOMAD festival director Chris Smith said: “We have a commitment to Malmesbury and the commitment from local people to WOMAD very much affirms that.

“Clearly there is an ongoing disagreement between us and Wiltshire Police. I am sure that is resolvable. We have consistently promoted the conditions of the licence and incidents of crime, disorder and health related issues have reduced for the last three years. We don’t share the police’s concerns but are happy to provide the evidence they are requiring.”

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