Aerial view of Nantwich Show at Dorfold Park, 2017

Cheshire East has granted a premises licence for the Dorfold Park Showground, home to the Nantwich Show for decades, writes Belinda Ryan.

The showground, operating since 1946 and owned by Charles Roundell, has hosted community events such as Spooktacular and charity functions for years.

But 32 letters of objection raising concerns about late night noise, fireworks and inconsiderate parking were sent to the council when Dorfold Hall Events Ltd applied for a premises licence for regulated entertainment and alcohol.

Cheshire East granted the licence for Mondays through to Sundays from 10am to midnight and there is also provision for hosting 15 smaller events annually of up to 500 people from 10am to 1am.

The licence is only for the showground – next to Dorfold Hall, which hosts wedding events, is already licensed.

At the licensing sub-committee meeting, Mr Roundell’s solicitor, Felicity Tulloch, said the licence being applied for was very similar to the previous one surrendered by the Nantwich Agricultural Society.

Ms Tulloch told the committee: “The showground is a very important community asset and, without a licence, events such as the Nantwich Show, family friendly events and that sort of thing won’t be able to return to the area.

“While it says that licensing activities are sought daily, it’s absolutely not the case that would happen.”

She explained that was to allow flexibility so that a licence was in place when people wanted to arrange an event.

With regard to fireworks, she said there was a condition on the Dorfold Hall licence that restricts the number of firework events to four plus New Year’s Eve and Bonfire Night.

“This licence doesn’t talk about numbers of firework events specifically just that, if they were to take place, prior consultation with the council would need to happen to allow them,” said Ms Tulloch.

Mr Roundell told the committee there was a limit to the number of events which could be held at the showground as it is ‘self-regulated’ because you could not have a big event on the showground next to Dorfold Hall where a wedding is taking place.

He said the issue related to parking had been a one-off at this year’s Spooktacular event because of changes due to Covid concerns.

Mr Roundell stressed he was not a new operator taking on the showground licence.

“Although the previous licence was held by the Nantwich Agricultural Society, anything which happened on that showground has gone through us,” he said.

Objector Ian McLellan told the committee his objection was not about granting the licence, but about regulating it.

“What troubles me about this particular application is that it is unregulated in terms of how many events per year,” he said.

“In theory, you could have on the site, and I know Mr Roundell has assured us that it won’t happen, a rock concert virtually every day and there was very little anyone could do about it.”

He said living three quarters of a mile away he could hear the music from events at night on occasion.

“I’m sure for anyone who lives much closer it could become a nightmare,” said Mr McLellan.

“That’s what primarily concerns us – the theoretical self-regulation that can take place and the level of noise.”

The solicitor said noise assessments would be made and there were a number of conditions attached to the licence applied for.

She added: “There’s a review mechanism should things go wrong in the future – and Charles is absolutely committed to making sure that they don’t.”

The licence was granted with a number of operating conditions.

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