THE organisers of the annual BoomTown Fair want to greatly increase its size.
They have applied to the city council for permission to stage events for up to 50,000 people by 2016 at the Matterley Bowl near Winchester.
The current licence is for 30,000, meaning the increase will be by two-thirds. The proposal is to have 38,000 capacity this year, 45,000 in 2015 and 49,999 in 2016.
One villager from nearby Cheriton, who asked not to be named, said: “Most people will not be aware of this. The application was put in just before Christmas when most people were going off on holiday.
“I think it is going to increase the likelihood of crime and disorder. With most of the extra 20,000 people arriving by car it will make the traffic much worse after the event. Local people will be affected trying to get to work. A lot of people are going to be very disappointed.”
The proposal comes only weeks after the city council announced it was reviewing the licence for BoomTown.
The council praised the organisers for staging a “successful event” but said there was concern over several breaches of the licence including noise levels. It had considered prosecuting but said it preferred a formal review. There were 17 complaints about noise in 2013, down on the previous year.
Landowner Peveril Bruce told the Daily Echo: “I don’t think it will make any difference to local people. There will be more people here which may mean more traffic but we are all working hard to improve traffic management.
“The festival is well-established. Some people would rather it didn’t happen and whether it is 30,000 or 50,000 will not make much difference to them. More people does not mean more noise.”
Mr Bruce said he was keen to involve local people in the community liaison group.
Lak Mitchell, BoomTown creative director and co-founder, said: “BoomTown’s application for a 49,999 capacity licence is part of three-year plan that, if all stakeholders and responsible authorities are in agreement, will give the festival the scope to expand at a steady pace to keep up with the demand required to put on such a creative and bespoke event.
“As the event grows, so does the infrastructure, staff and security onsite, therefore it is important for us to have a licence and capacity to reflect the requirements of the site and the safety of the attendees.”