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Licensee hits at limits on Boardmasters music show

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 01, 2013

Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, headlined at Boardmasters in 2011

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Restrictions on the volume and times music is permitted on a Westcountry beach could threaten the future of one of the region's top musical and surfing gatherings.

Cornwall Council's licensing committee has decided that music at Newquay's Fistral Beach has to stop at 11.30pm and not exceed 65 decibels. The reduction in the time music can be played, which was previously 30 minutes later, at midnight, has come after complaints by some residents who live near the beach.

John Lenton, whose company, Fistral Leisure Ltd, was the subject of a licence review by Cornwall Council's environmental protection team, said the council conditions were now jeopardising the music element of the Boardmasters Festival, Newquay's biggest event of the year.

Mr Lenton holds a licence to stage events at the beach's car park, including music and a skate competition over three days in August as part of the Boardmasters Festival, this year from August 7 to 11.

The committee carried out a review of the Fistral beach car park and ordered that background music from both indoors and outside sources will cease by 11.30pm.

The committee ordered that amplified music will be kept to levels that are acceptable to surrounding businesses.

The levels are 65 decibels at one monitoring point and 50 decibels at another.

An additional condition is that the licensee will monitor the noise at two locations highlighted on the acoustic report at least once an hour while regulated entertainment is being undertaken.

Mr Lenton said four or five people living on Esplanade Road had complained about music, the surfing and skating commentary, and even RNLI beach safety announcements.

He holds a licence to stage events at the beach's car park, including music and a skate competition over three days as part of the Boardmasters Festival.

Mr Lenton said: "When are the council officers going to start backing local businesses?

"Boardmasters is the biggest event of the year and they are trying to push the event out of town.

"It is all over by midnight. It isn't as if it goes on until 4am. Boardmasters should be thanked, not punished, for holding the event in Newquay – 90 per cent of the town is behind it and businesses rely on it. There will come a time when Boardmasters gets tired of being told off."

Council officers monitored noise levels at properties on Esplanade Road, located at the southern end of Fistral beach, between August 9 and 15 last year. All events take place at the northern end.

A report by environmental protection officer Miranda Flannigan states that the team had received numerous complaints from residents and that Fistral Leisure Ltd had been contacted over "poor management"

It added: "Well-run and well-organised events are welcomed. However, the events relating to the particular licence have had a detrimental effect on residents."

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