Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 13:50 UK

Organisers defend Pembrey beach festival plans

Beach Break Live
Beach Break Live was first held in Cornwall

Organisers of a student beach festival planned for a country park have defended their licensing, policing and health and safety record.

They say if Beach Break Live goes ahead at Pembrey County Park in June it will be worth around £1m to Carmarthenshire businesses and a huge boost to tourism.

Opponents of the event for around 18,000 university students say it is "wholly unwanted" by the community.

A council licensing committee will rule if it can take place on Friday.

Ian Forshew, managing director of Student Seed Ltd, the company behind the plan, told the hearing it was a "totally unique" event.

"It's actually more of a holiday atmosphere than a festival and it's something I'm very proud of," he said.

Beach Break Live has previously been held in Cornwall and Kent but Mr Forshew said he had looked at more than 100 sites in the UK for a permanent home and Pembrey "was by far the best."

"I understand that this is a park that is very important to the community," he added.

I sincerely believe it's a fantastic opportunity for the county
Ian Forshew, MD Student Seed Ltd

He said organisers would ensure the site was not damaged and had agreed a bond with Carmarthenshire council.

He said they would also cover the policing and ambulance costs so there would no impact on local services.

Mr Forshew said contracts worth around £750,000 had already been placed with local businesses this year.

He said over the next five years the event would bring 100,000 university students to Carmarthenshire, be worth £5m directly to local businesses plus have big spin-offs for tourism.

"I sincerely believe it's a fantastic opportunity for the county," he added.

The committee had already heard from over a dozen opponents to the festival where acts such as Calvin Harris and Plan B are due to appear.

They are angry that access will be restricted to the park in the build up to and during the event scheduled for 14-18 June.

They have many other concerns including noise and traffic nuisance, potential alcohol and drug problems and possible damage to the park.

Speaking for Burry Port and Pembrey Town Council, deputy mayor Stephen James said it was "wholly unwanted".

"There is no suggestion here we are killjoys," he said.

"We are against it because we believe the consequences for the community will be so severe that this will be a disaster for the park."

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