Cromer landowner blames Brexit for bid to host large picnic concerts

Benji Cabbell-Manners, new owner of Amazona Zoo, Cromer.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Benji Cabbell-Manners, new owner of Amazona Zoo, Cromer.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A prominent north Norfolk landowner has blamed Brexit for his bid to stage outdoor picnic concerts on his parkland.

Benjie Cabbell Manners wants to hold Friday-to-Sunday events, up to three times each summer, on land near his Cromer Hall home.

His application for a premises licence says the concerts would cater for just under 5,000 people with space for 3,000 vehicles.

Farmer Mr Cabbell Manners said that, as a result of the Brexit vote, he had lost his Higher Level Stewardship payments.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) scheme, administered by Natural England, pays landowners to improve soil, encourage wildlife, and preserve landscape character and the historic environment.

'They (Natural England) are not prepared to go on with it for another five years, which is fair enough,' said Mr Cabbell Manners who declined to say how much he received through the scheme.

'I thought rather than plough the park up, I would like to see it wash its face.'

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Concerts would be gentle, orchestral-style events.

Parking would be in the car park of the nearby Amazona Zoo, which is owned by Mr Cabbell Manners, and which he said was never full, even in peak summer periods.

Mr Cabbell Manners said the nearest home to the proposed five-acre field concert venue was about a mile away and there was a barrier of 400 acres of woodland between the site and the town of Cromer, about one mile away.

The application can be viewed on North Norfolk District Council's website. The closing date for comments on it is November 17.

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