Lifestyle festival 'a recipe for putting the public at risk'

Illegal Rave. Photo from Pexels/Unsplash.

There are fears a lifestyle festival could bring disruption to rural Hockwold - Credit: Pexels/Unsplash.

Villagers fear an 'urban lifestyle' festival will bring crime and disruption to their remote Norfolk community. 

Acle-based Urban Hydro has applied for a licence to serve alcohol and have live music and dance at a "trade show with additional entertainments" at Hockwold, near Brandon, over four days from September 2 - 6.

It says up to 8,000 people are expected to attend the event, called the Paradise Gardens Hydro and Urban Lifestyle Show, on fields off Cowles Drove.

The event's website says: "Paradise Gardens is about to revolutionise the show culture and become the largest hydroponics, music and urban lifestyle event in the UK.

"We are transforming the typical trade-show landscape by bringing together 40+ big-name music artists across jungle, reggae, hip-hop, drum & bass, electro-swing, acoustic and house and techno with the progressive world of hydroponics."

But people living around the site fear the event will bring disruption to their remote community.

One person objecting to the event says the event is "a recipe for putting the public at risk, inviting crime, disorder and creating a public nuisance".

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They go on: "There is genuine concern here that inviting 8,000 people per day to an area with almost no police presence is a severe risk to property and potential crime. 

Another adds: "Security is also a big issue, last time an event was held down Cowles Drove we were personally robbed that night whilst asleep in our home." 

Another living near the site says: "The information received states 4,000 campers and some 4,000 day visitors. This is clearly unacceptable. Cowles Drove comprises of a short distance of concrete road as far as Freedom Farm. This road was funded by three residents at the time. It then becomes an unmade road, a dirt track for local farmers and other householders to access their properties. To contemplate this amount of traffic alone using this only access, apart from the noise issues, safety of our properties, etc beggars belief."

Hockwold cum Wilton Parish Council has also objected. It writes: "The residents along the drove have expressed there objections to the event,and its noise disturbance to both the residents and the copious amount of wildlife, horses and livestock."

West Norfolk council's licensing committee is due to discuss the application on Wednesday, July 21.