Following an extensive deliberation process, the Fylde Council’s licensing panel has approved a limited increase in capacity for two days only of the 2023 Lytham Festival. Proposals from the organisers for an increase in capacity of 25% for 2024 and subsequent years were rejected. The panel also added a condition that a community liaison group be established to empower discussion between the event organisers and residents. The footprint of the arena will also increase.
As the relevant Licensing Authority, Fylde Council had received an application which would have allowed for an increase in the maximum number of attendees at the festival from 19,999 to 29,999. After 71 representations from members of the public opposed to the increase, the organisers modified their proposals so as to cap the maximum number of persons to 22,500 on the Friday and Sunday of the 2023 festival, keeping the limit of 19,999 on the other days of the festival in that same year, and increasing to 24,999 attendees on all days of the festival from 2024 onwards.
As representations in objection persisted following the adjustments to the application, Fylde Council’s Licensing Panel was required to determine the application. The Licensing Panel on Thursday 26 April 2023 at United Reformed Church in Lytham St Annes was attended by numerous representatives from the local community, both speaking in support of and in objection to the application, as well as representatives from the event organisers Live Nation (Music) UK Ltd.
At the hearing it became apparent most who objected were concerned primarily about the impact on the local community of a large number of people arriving for, accessing and leaving the festival. These concerns were considered by the Licensing Panel and balanced against the economic and reputational benefits of hosting the annual festival. The panel agreed with many of the concerns expressed and so decided to grant a much smaller increase than the organisers had requested, and to limit the increase to this year’s festival.
The formal decision of the panel was therefore:
To grant the licence as applied for, subject to the mandatory conditions, conditions reflecting the operating schedule, and the following conditions:
- A condition that the maximum number of attendees at the festival at any one time is limited to 19,999, except for Friday 30 June 2023 and Sunday 2 July 2023, when the maximum will be 22,500, unless (for any date) the Safety Advisory Group recommends that the maximum number should be lower.
- A condition that the applicant should assist in setting up a community liaison group whose remit will be to facilitate discussion between the applicant and the local community about the festival, which will be coordinated by Fylde Borough Council or such other person or body as the council approves, and which will comprise such representatives of the local community in Lytham and a senior responsible representative of the applicant.
Fylde Council’s Tourism & Leisure Committee also met in the evening of 27 April 2023 to consider ground landlord consent for the larger stadium and additional parking. This was granted in principle for 2023, subject to revised commercial terms being agreed with the festival operators. This will allow the Council to gauge the impact of increased festival goers on the local community in considering any more permanent expansion of the festival arena and car parking arrangements.
Lytham Festival has been a fixture of the Fylde’s cultural calendar since its inception in 2010 as Lytham Proms, regularly attracting visitors from across the UK and beyond, and drawing in big-name artists from around the globe, having grown from a one-night event to a five-day festival with a variety of headliners.
The agenda of the 26 April 2023 Licensing Panel and the full text decision notice can be found on the Fylde Council website here, discussing in more detail the nuances of the decision and the factors considered.
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