Bristol’s Foodies Festival in doubt over fears of drunk disorder and ‘potential food poisoning outbreak’

Foodies Festival is in doubt. Foodies Festival is in doubt.
Foodies Festival is in doubt. | Foodies Festival
Blue, Scouting For Girls and an ABBA tribute act are scheduled to headline the popular festival

A major Bristol music and food festival headlined by pop superstars Blue and Scouting For Girls next month has been thrown into doubt after police and environmental health objected to its new site.

Foodies Festival is set to attract up to 5,000 people a day to Little Stoke Park, Stoke Gifford, from Friday to Sunday, May 12-14.

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But concerns about noise, traffic, a chronic lack of car parking, a “potential food poisoning outbreak”, fire safety, “confrontation” between “intoxicated” attendees and residents whose homes are just yards away and even a lack of risk assessment for the axe-throwing could scupper the event.

It has been held for the past few years on The Downs and features celebrity chefs, chart-topping acts, artisan producers and a funfair.

But it is having to move after the police and Bristol City Council told organisers they would not support the extravaganza there again this year over “concerns raised of how the event was run”, according to papers published ahead of a licensing hearing.

Instead, the festival, dubbed “Gastro-Glasto”, chose a recreational sports field in the middle of a housing estate with narrow 20mph roads notorious for traffic and parking problems and submitted an application for a premises licence to South Gloucestershire Council, with tickets already on sale.

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Avon & Somerset Police and local authority objections have been published ahead of a decision by the licensing sub-committee on Thursday (April 20).

The police licensing officer’s submission said: “It is the opinion of Avon & Somerset Constabulary licensing and the local policing team that granting this licence as submitted may have an adverse effect on crime and disorder, public nuisance and alcohol-related antisocial behaviour.

“The park is bordered on three sides by small residential roads. The houses are no more than 50 metres from the park boundary. There is only one main vehicle entrance, and the park has approximately 80 dedicated parking spaces.

“It is the police’s concern that holding an event of this size at this location is likely to have an adverse and negative effect on the local residents.

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“With live music playing until 10pm, and with noise generated by crowds and the general noise and smells that such large events produce, it is our concern that local residents are highly likely to be disturbed and that will have a negative impact on them over the three-day period.

The festival is set to be held in Little Stoke Park.The festival is set to be held in Little Stoke Park.
The festival is set to be held in Little Stoke Park. | Google

“There is no mention in the application of any provision for the parking of potentially several thousand vehicles. Little Stoke Lane is a 20mph speed limit residential road.

“When much smaller football events are held there, this road and surrounding roads become blocked with vehicles parking on both sides and on the kerbs. This causes issues for local residents who have their drives and cul-de-sacs blocked.”

Scouting For Girls will be appearing at Little Stoke parkScouting For Girls will be appearing at Little Stoke park
Scouting For Girls will be appearing at Little Stoke park | Foodies

It said the road was a major bus route to Cribbs Causeway and blocking it would cause “major transport issues” and make access difficult for emergency vehicles.

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The officer said: “This event is based around food and drink, it is possible that with potentially thousands of people, some of whom may be intoxicated, exiting at the close of the event into residential streets is likely to cause noise and antisocial behaviour causing local residents to be disturbed and could lead to confrontation and disorder.

“It is our opinion and the basis of this objection that this venue is not suitable for an event of this size and the number of customers and vehicles it may attract.

“Our suggestion is that the application is withdrawn and a more suitable location is researched and applied for that would allow the licensing objectives to be promoted and would have a far less negative effect on the local community.”

South Gloucestershire Council’s health and safety team said it was concerned about the “lack of information and lack of confidence that the organiser will provide adequate provision to deal with any emergencies” and crowd safety.

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It said: “There is no risk assessment for the axe-throwing at the event. Suitable controls must be in place to ensure staff, participants and attendees are safe.

“The fire risk assessment does not indicate a safe distance for fire separation between food traders where there is a potential risk of fire spreading between them.”

Officers said the organisers needed to confirm traders were registered with the local authority and had a food hygiene rating.

“If traders were found to be operating unsafely, procedures must be in place to protect the public and prevent people coming to harm from a potential food poisoning outbreak,” they said.

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“Given the numbers expected at the event, a significant number of people could be affected by unsafe food. The team may receive an increased number of complaints relating to food safety and deal with any infectious disease notifications linked to the event.”

The council’s environmental protection team, which also objected, said the “harm to local residents” from noise levels in the evenings was expected to be “significant”.

“It appears that there is not sufficient parking capacity nearby and there have been no plans presented on how this will be managed,” it said.

Foodies Festival, which has applied to hold the event from 11am to 10pm each day, has not responded to a request for comment.

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