Oktoberfest may return to The Level despite noise objections

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Oktoberfest may return to The Level if councillors grant the organisers an alcohol licence.

But concerns have been raised about noise and how long the food and beer festival takes over the Brighton park.

Last year environmental protection officers received six complaints about noise from people living in the area.

The promoter Whiskey Bravo Productions received land owner’s permission for the event, subject to the licence, from Brighton and Hove City Council’s Tourism, Development and Culture Committee in November 2017.

But objections from residents and councillors mean that the organisers have yet to learn whether the essential drinks licence will be granted.

The event is due to take place from Thursday 11 October until Sunday 13 October with a set up and take down period either side of the event.

The council’s environmental health and licensing team has asked for a noise management plan to be finalised at least six weeks in advance, with a hotline for residents.

Neighbour Ian Scoones is unhappy about the length of time that the festival is expected to take over the park, as well as the noise.

He said: “The Level is a much-used public park in a highly residential area, and the impact of removing the whole north lawn area from use has a negative impact on local users for the whole period of the application, plus the period of setting up and taking down the marquees (adding up to five days or more).

“The noise generated by amplified music until 11pm is a major nuisance to local residents.

“Following last year’s festival there were numerous complaints about the excessive noise and disruption.

“It is clear that The Level is an inappropriate location for this event.”

His view was supported by St Peter’s and North Laine Green councillor Pete West.

In his letter of objection he raised concerns about continuing issues with street drinking on The Level.

He said: “The compression of this vital and heavily used open space by this event and the nature of it as a largely drink-related event will do nothing to help improve the safety of the park.

“I believe therefore that Ocktoberfest will be at odds with a number of the licensing objectives.

“I’m seriously concerned about the impact Ocktoberfest will have on the amenity of local residents who last year experienced considerable noise disturbance.

“I’m also concerned at the impact the event will have on the quiet enjoyment of the park by members of the public.

“Over the many days substantial areas of the open space will be lost between the start of setting up and final pack down – which I believe took up 10 days last year.”

Whiskey Bravo Productions managing director Ian Baird said that the company had employed specialist noise managers and had satisfied environmental health objections.

He said: “We put our hands up now and admit we could have done better last year and we’ve redesigned the event.”

Mr Baird, who lives in Hove and grew up in the area, said the set up and take down process will also be faster this year.

He added: “The Level has a special place in my heart.

“I’m keen to do this right. We’re using local suppliers and I’m keen to make it Brighton focused.”

To address neighbours’ concerns about noise he said that people living in a wider area would be given a hotline number if they had any complaints.

The licensing panel is due to discuss the application at Hove Town Hall from 10am on September 11.