Generally the Wild Life Festival can be seen as a success, principally due to the planning by the police, SJM (the promoters) and the work of council officers on this major event.
However, there are important concerns to be addressed if the festival is to be repeated, including the noise levels and the possibility of increased numbers.
The noise footprint extended to a wide area to the east of the airport and, because of the prevailing wind, it was clearly heard as far as Hangleton.
The post festival public meeting at the Shoreham Academy was an entirely different matter.
It was a shambles from start to finish and an embarrassment for both SJM and particularly for the council members attending the meeting.
Shoreham deserves better and it is significant that more than 50 people walked out in disgust.
From the start of the meeting there was no formal chair in control despite the presence of councillors – including the chairperson of the Licensing Committee.
This meant that the pros and cons could not be presented and discussed in a mature and civilised way.
Steve Walton (SJM) tried to answer questions but, given the strength of feeling on all sides, this proved impossible.
It was only when Lloyd Harris (emergency planning officer) stepped in that something like a reasonable exchange of views took place.
This so-called review reflected a lack of trust between the public and their elected council.
It did nothing to allay fears of a conspiracy which stemmed from the original licensing application.
Even our councillors and MP were unaware of the application for such a major event until two days prior to the Licensing Committee meeting.
Trust needs rebuilding between all parties and the review meeting did nothing towards this.
One of the outcomes of the meeting was to explore a request for a formal, public review of the license for the Wild Life Festival.
As chairman of the Shoreham Society, I was asked to take a lead on this by other community groups represented at the meeting.
I am now in consultation with members of the society to see if this would be appropriate.
In the spirit of making the next event better for all, Shoreham and Adur residents should expect nothing less than proper consultation in the lead up to any licensing variation.
This should include full disclosure of costs involved such as policing of the event, preparing and cleaning up after the event etc and of the benefits to the local community, local economy and the airport.
Transparency is a critical factor in rebuilding trust.
Local resident associations and community groups hope to work closely with SJM and councillors regarding any future events at the airport.
• Want to share your views? Send your letters by email or post them to Letters, Shoreham Herald, Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA. Remember to include your full name and address.
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