Councillors considering wedding venue plan for meadow after hearing objections

The entrance to the Dove Barn Meadow site, off the A134 at Northwold

The entrance to the Dove Barn Meadow site, off the A134 at Northwold - Credit: Google Street View

Councillors have retired to consider whether to grant a license to turn a meadow into a wedding venue.

Thomas Janes had applied for a premises license for Dove Barn Meadow, off the A134 at Northwold.

If granted, it would allow the sale of alcohol from 11am - 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, along with live or recorded music in a marquee.

Up to 12 events with a maximum of 300 people would be permitted to take place, with no more than two per month.

Today Mr Janes told West Norfolk council’s licensing committee he did not intend to hold large music events. He said he wanted to set up a venue for wedding receptions for local people.

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“We’re local people and we’d just like to offer something to the local community,” he said.

Around 200 villagers objected to application. Some 189 signed a petition, while 58 sent letters of objection to the borough council.

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Concerns included road safety and noise pollution – the latter following an event on the same land in September when “incessant, thumping music” could be heard in Stoke Ferry five miles away.

Resident Peter Wills told the committee there had been “a constant thump, thump, thump of music travelling over God knows how many miles of the local community”.

He asked Mr Janes what type of music would be acceptable at a wedding venue. Mr Janes said he would not restrict any kind of music but he would restrict the noise and a noise assessment would be carried out prior to any event.

Councillors heard the site was surrounded by homes. Ward councillor Alun Ryves said the A134 which runs past the field was a fast and dangerous road. He said the emergency services had been called to more than 100 accidents at a nearby crossroads, where the most recent incident had been a collision in which a cyclist died in September.

But councillors heard there had been no concern expressed by police or highways officers.

Cliff Anderson, chair of Northwold and Whittington Parish Council, said issues raised by objectors included concerns over the entrance off the A134 (54), noise nuisance (44), the September 19 event (36), fears of drug and alcohol issues (21), wildlife issues (21) and fears events could spread Covid-19 (18).

Villager Peter Wills said the site was close to an established wedding venue, which was sympathetic to its neighbours.

Mr Ryves said road safety could not be brushed under the carpet. He said when the nearby wedding business was given planning permission, a condition was attached that it should control traffic flow to avoid the A134.

Mr Anderson said there were “significant implications for crime and disorder, public safety and public nuisance”.

He said in view of the number of objections and opposition to the application, the only reasonable conclusion the committee could take would be to turn it down.

The three-strong panel of councillors retired to consider its verdict after the four-hour meeting.

Chair Sam Sandell said the decision would be made available within five days.

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