Page last updated at 13:14 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Objections over Urdd Eisteddfod alcohol licence

Llaneraeron estate near Aberaeron
The Urdd Eisteddfod will be held at the Llanerchaeron estate

Plans to sell alcohol at the Urdd Eisteddfod youth festival for the first time have met with strong objection from chapel leaders.

Ceredigion council has given organisers a licence to sell drink at the event near Aberaeron in May.

But the Union of Welsh Independent Chapels said it was disappointed and it was an issue of "national concern".

The Urdd said there would not be a bar, but alcohol would be available in an area selling food.

The eisteddfod, which attracts up to 100,000 visitors and 15,000 competitors, will be staged at the National Trust estate at Llanerchaeron between 31 May and 5 June.

Selling alcohol has always been prohibited on the main field at outdoor Urdd eisteddfods, but organisers now intend to sell drink with food.

'Binge drinking'

This has been met with opposition from the Union of Welsh Independent Chapels.

Spokesman Alun Lenny said: "The only objections (to the drinks licence) that could be considered were in the immediate area of Llanerchaeron.

"We are disappointed that consideration could not be given to large number of objections by individuals and various bodies.

"This is an issue of national concern not just for people living near the eisteddfod site.

"It's ironic this was announced on the same day that the UK government announced measures to deal with binge drinking.

"It's been shown that the availability of drink is a known factor in alcohol abuse. By making alcohol more available the Urdd is contributing towards the problem."

Director of the Urdd Eisteddfod Aled Sion said: "The Urdd will not provide a bar as in other shows and festivals but will provide everything within the context of the food area.

"This new experiment will be assessed after the eisteddfod as part of the annual assessment made on every aspect of the festival."

Ceredigion council said it received a petition objecting to alcohol being sold.

A spokesman said: "It is true to say that a petition was received in objection but, in considering such a submission, we had to be certain as to whether any of the signatories could actually be considered to be an interested party as defined in the legislation.

"According to the legislation, such a party must either be a resident of, or the operator of a business within, the immediate area."

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