Go-ahead for orchestral summer picnic concerts at new north Norfolk venue

Benjie Cabbell Manners. Picture: ARCHANT

Benjie Cabbell Manners. Picture: ARCHANT

Open-air picnic concerts, in the style of those at Blickling Hall, will be coming to a new north Norfolk venue next summer.

The orchestral events, which will cater for up to 5,000 people, will be held in the park of Cromer Hall, home of local farmer Benjie Cabbell Manners who also owns nearby Amazona Zoo.

North Norfolk District Council's licensing sub-committee, meeting today, granted Mr Cabbell Manners' premises licence application.

It had attracted more than 30 objections from residents in the area, one of whom feared a 'mini Glastonbury'.

The licence is ringed with conditions including limiting the concerts to a maximum of three a year, held over not more than two weekends.

Afterwards, Mr Cabbell Manners said he was delighted and the area could expect a full symphony orchestra playing 'the world's most loved music'.

He added: 'We hope to create two really special nights of summer entertainment.

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'Cromer Hall, like every other British estate, needs to diversify how it generates revenue following an expected change to the subsidy system.' The estate was keen to preserve the park as grassland but, without the concerts, it would have to be ploughed up.

The concerts will be run by the CL Group - broadcaster and EDP columnist Nick Conrad, and TV director Martin Lord - who expect to announce the first act next month.

Mr Cabbell Manners said he had listened carefully to objectors at a mediation meeting and had sought to allay their concerns.

Changes included creating a new parking area for concert-goers on the park, rather than using the zoo car park, with access from the layby on the Holt Road. Noise would be strictly monitored.

Most people withdrew their objections after the meeting but Cromer resident Michael Bayliss told the committee it was a residential area, totally unsuitable for concerts.

He feared there could be no limitation on events in future years. 'I believe we could end up with a mini Glastonbury which would affect the whole town,' he added.