The Committee is invited to receive and make comments on the draft Council’s Events Strategy and Policy to Cabinet
The Committee considered this report.
Mr Foord provided an overview of the draft Events Strategy, developed to establish a year round programme of events to meet the needs of communities in the District, following public consultation between May and July 2019. Mrs Peyman provided an overview of the draft Events Policy, produced to provide a clear framework for the programming and operation of events on Council owned land and to support the objectives of the Events Strategy.
The Chairman referred to the receipt of comments from the Chichester North East Quadrant Resident’s Association, which he had forwarded to the Committee.
Mr Bell was invited to address the Committee. Whilst he supported the overall draft Events Strategy he raised some concerns about the Policy. In particular Ward members should be consulted on any proposals for the use of Council land at the hiring enquiry stage and brand quality control for Chichester, Midhurst, Petworth and Selsey brands stipulated in the terms and conditions.
The Chairman, Mr Foord and Mrs Peyman responded to Mr Bell’s comments as follows:
The Chairman asked that if there was a need to put the Policy through the Traders Market and the Events task and finish groups before it was presented to Cabinet to make sure it had the support of all District councillors.
Mr Foord advised that he believed the Strategy was fully supported by District councillors. He reassured members that approved events would be sympathetic to the unique needs of the District. The consultation had showed that parks and open spaces were desirable locations for appropriate events from those who had responded to the consultation exercise. He referred to the statutory regimes that the Council was required to follow in terms of consultation associated with applications under the Licensing Act 2003. In terms of the brand, he advised there was no legal ability for the Council to restrict the use of the word “Chichester” in an event name.
Mrs Peyman agreed to add notification of the Ward member when an application for the hire of land was received in Section e), Operational Requirements, of the Policy. Due to the wide ranging nature of events, it could be difficult to agree definitive start and finish times. Licensable events were often dealt with as part of the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) and licensing application process. Appropriate event setting up start times and finish times when works should be completed, were considered via the Noise Management Plan and in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Team, to reduce disruption. Priory Park was primarily for community use, when taking into account the number of days and the amount of space used for events.
Members made the following comments and officers responded as follows:
· A comment was made that the use of less central parks and open spaces in Chichester, such as the Amphitheatre and Florence Park would be welcome.
· Mr Foord agreed that there was a need to progress the micro event element. He encouraged community event organisers to approach the Council for appropriate advice from a health protection perspective as well as licensing where appropriate.
· There was a need to recognise the difference between constructive input and the genuine concerns of residents, against those who did not want events happening near them.
· The quantity of events should not be put before the quality of events.
· Mrs Hamilton was invited to address the Committee about her work with the organisers of the Festival of Chichester for an event due to take place during 2-4 July 2021. She invited members to take part in the event in some way.
· Mrs Peyman advised the draft Events Policy took account of previous consultation for individual events. Officers used their knowledge of individual parks as well as knowledge of the benefits events brought to the District. It was a balancing act, hence why officers had addressed the number and frequency of events in each area carefully. It was understood that some events may cause some disruption to local residents or businesses, but would also bring a number of economic, cultural and social benefits to the District. Although the draft Events Policy was District wide, the majority of Council owned parks and open spaces were located in Chichester. Officers were encouraging the organisers of the Festival of Chichester to use the whole of the District for fringe events.
· Mrs Hotchkiss reported that officers had consulted the Parks Group on the policy setting and the Markets Group was consulted on the events aspect.
Mrs Hotchkiss reiterated the importance of getting the events framework in place and in a timely manner. The Council had already been approached about the holding of potential Christmas events.
The Chairman noted the Committee’s support for the draft Events Strategy and Events Policy, which would assist in getting more events to take place, and for their consideration at Cabinet on 6 October 2020. He asked for a final check with relevant members to see if they had any further comments for consideration by Cabinet. He advised members that they could ask to address Cabinet with their own comments or he could attend Cabinet to present the view of the Committee as a whole.
That the comments of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the draft Council’s Events Strategy and Events Policy be recommended to Cabinet