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Parks given licences despite objections

PUBLISHED: 10:30 17 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:02 22 October 2010

LORNA MARSH

A bid to license Norwich's most popular parks for a range of events and entertainment was given the green light yesterday - despite hundreds of objections from those living nearby.

A bid to license Norwich's most popular parks for a range of events and entertainment was given the green light yesterday - despite hundreds of objections from those living nearby.

Scores of people wrote to the city council's licensing sub-committee and a 100-signature petition was sent expressing fears that new licensing applications for open spaces would lead to excessive boozing and anti-social behaviour.

But the council moved to allay concerns that the licences were nothing to do with the provision of alcohol and reassure people they were simply now needed due to a change in law last year to ensure the city's range of cultural events can continue.

Applications relating to entertainment and events at Chapelfield Gardens, Waterloo Park, Eaton Park and Cow Tower were all passed yesterday.

And similar licences for Pilling Park, Sloughbottom Park, Ketts Cave recreation ground and Peterson Road open space will go to the committee next Friday.

Due to the new licensing laws introduced by central government last year the council must now have a premises licence to run its programme of outdoor community events, something not previously required.

Events that will need a licence include the Lord Mayor's celebrations, KidZone activity days for children, Theatre in the Parks, Children's Outdoor Theatre Festival, Sparks in the Park, Christmas Lights Switch On and the Ice Sculpture Trail.

Each licence for each park lists all the activities ranging from plays to live music, dancing to workshops to boxing until 11pm with the option of keeping the parks open until 1am.

But a Norwich City Council spokeswoman said this had been done even when there was no intention to run events until late at night to make the application process easier and that this had led to "some confusion and, perhaps understandably, concern".

She said that as an example the events planned for Eaton Park were two performances from brass bands and one from the Sillars Orchestra to be performed at 3pm, five plays for children and a Kidzone event to start at 11am.

The inclusion of boxing and wrestling was so that boxer Jon Thaxton can attend Kidzone events.

"The number of events that are planned for the parks this year is more or less the same as in the last year and these are intended as community events," she said.

Brenda Ferris, deputy leader of the council and executive member for Culture, Tourism and Leisure said: "Entertainment in our parks has long been tradition for Norwich people especially showcasing much of the homegrown talent that we are so proud of.

"Licensing laws brought in last year have meant, like everyone else, the Council has to apply for licences for the entertainments we put on. It is very much the mix as before, and local residents need have no fear of any change in the kind of entertain-ments that we'll be promoting."


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