Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Sunday, 26 July 2009 16:58 UK

Festival cancelled over safety

Horsedrawn cart at a previous Big Green Gathering
The council and police had concerns about public safety at the festival

An annual green festival which organisers hoped would attract thousands has been cancelled through public safety fears.

The Big Green Gathering was to have taken place on farmland on the Mendip Hills in Somerset over five days starting on Wednesday 29 July.

Mendip District Council and emergency services expressed fears about public safety as well as crime and disorder.

This led the organisers to announce its cancellation on Sunday.

A Mendip Council spokesman said: "The council, working with the emergency services, had done as much as we could to ensure the event went ahead.

The implications of the issues raised meant that the council and police had significant concerns about the safety of the public attending
Donna Nolan of Mendip District Council

"But following negotiations, organisers recognised that they could not address those fears in time for the five-day event, and so handed their event licence back to the council."

Ticket holders have been warned not to arrive at the site as police step up their operations to divert festival-goers away from the farm.

The main concern centred on whether proper traffic management and signage could be in place before the event started.

Donna Nolan of the council's legal team said: "The implications of the issues raised meant that the council and police had significant concerns about the safety of the public attending the event as well as those living, working and visiting the local area."

Councillor Tom Killen told the BBC News website: "Mendip District Council objected because the conditions of the licence were not going to be met.

"The event management plan contained various road closures which had to be put in place and that was not happening because the organisers had not put in an application in time.

"When there is a risk to public safety and the potential for crime and disorder then we have no other option but to ensure that the event does not take place.

"The organisers surrendered their licence this morning on the advice of their solicitors, I believe."



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