Residents’ fears over cricket ground gigs

PERMISSION for up to three open-air concerts a year at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club’s ground has been granted in spite of residents’ concerns.

Neighbours told a licensing hearing that a 2019 performance by Tom Jones led to antisocial behaviour outside the stadium, including allegations of gig-goers urinating on parked cars.

But Bristol city councillors approved the premises licence application for the Seat Unique stadium after hearing that the Welsh singer’s event had been largely out of GCCC’s control and that the club would be responsible for all future shows.

Residents’ group CG2 representative Alison Boulton told the panel that locals were much more concerned about the noise and disruption of the preparation for events, such as putting up the stage and deliveries, than the loudness of music.

She said: “We are not against the idea of concerts or what the cricket club does – the last thing we want is for it to close and a supermarket built – but we want to make sure everything surrounding these big events is done to reduce the impacts on people near the ground.

“We welcome the fact that the ground will have greater control over these events.

“If they ever talk about having Tom Jones again, there will be an uprising because that was a really unpleasant evening.

“Antisocial behaviour is always an issue, especially when people have had a bit to drink, and there has been littering, urinating, very loud shouting and some road safety danger where someone could have been run over as people poured down Ashley Down Road after the Tom Jones concert.”

She said residents wanted only one concert a year that was either at a weekend or during school holidays.

Solicitor Jeremy Woodcraft, representing the club, told the licensing sub-committee on April 6, that the new, ongoing licence for three gigs a year would give the club the control over the events that they had lacked previously because they had not been the applicants.

Mr Woodcraft said it would also help longer-term planning so that the County Ground would no longer have to seek a one-off licence “almost presumptuously” shortly before a scheduled concert when thousands of tickets had already been sold.

He said: “This licence will facilitate that kind of approach and not having us keeping our fingers crossed that you will say yes.”

Mr Woodcraft said three concerts a year was probably “pie in the sky” and there were more likely to be no more than two, each with a capacity of up to 20,000 but more likely to attract fewer than 15,000 people.

“The club recognises residents’ concerns and wants to balance their needs with making the most of the ground to make it a sustainable venue,” he said.

Councillors granted the licence with 107 conditions after hearing they could be tightened up by pollution control if any problems arose.

Live music, alcohol sales and other activities requiring a licence will take place for no more than six hours between 12pm and 11pm on event days.

 By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service