Summer concert series for up to 15,000 fans a day in Bristol's Queen Square given the go-ahead

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The event will take place in August

A concert series for up to 15,000 fans a day in Queen Square has been given the go-ahead by Bristol city councillors despite objections from dozens of neighbours.

The event will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 9 to 11, after a licensing sub-committee granted a premises licence for performances and alcohol sales to live music promoters FKP Scorpio UK, who have worked with superstars Diana Ross, Ed Sheeran and Bryan Adams.

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But almost 50 residents and business owners opposed the plans and fear the noise and disruption will make their lives a misery.

No acts have yet been announced for the three shows.

Carlos De Souza, a resident, told the City Hall hearing on Thursday, January 18: “It’s not a suitable proposal.

“Security is a concern – what happens if there is an incident outside the grounds?

“The police don’t have the capacity to police the city centre as it is, let alone another 15,000 people.”

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He said similar events had been tried elsewhere in the city centre, such as Castle Park, and had failed.

Julian Ellacott, director of medical insurance and investments society National Friendly, which has an office in the square, said businesses no longer worked the typical 9-5, Monday to Friday, and that the concerts would cause much disruption.

He said this would last a week, not just the three days, because of the additional time needed to build and dismantle the stage.

Queen Square home-owner Janet Wilson said big events held previously in Queen Square – Arcadia in 2015 and Massive Attack’s 2003 gig – were “disastrous” and a “horrific experience” for neighbours.

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“Children’s eardrums will be pierced by the kind of noise levels they’re suggesting – 96 decibels,” she said.

Resident Klara Davies said: “Queen Square is the only flat green space in the city centre – surely it’s more important to maintain and enhance this space for the local community to enjoy?”

She said many of the activities enjoyed by people of all ages in the square, including cycling, volleyball and cricket, were not possible in other, hillier parks.

“Queen Square acts as my and many others’ garden,” she told the panel.

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“This application would set a precedent, and Queen Square would become an events space that locals will avoid.”

Neighbour Lowri Pritchard said granting permission would mean the council could not refuse a future similar application and that it would “lose control of a public park”.

But solicitor Matthew Phipps, representing the applicants, said FKP Scorpio had significant experience and that 2million gig-goers attended their events throughout the UK last year, while production company SC Productions, which it would work with, also had a wealth of experience.

Mr Phipps said: “Avon & Somerset Police made no representation – that is a point of very great significance.”

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He said the concerts would “enhance Bristol’s reputation nationally and internationally as a home of music”.

The lawyer said Arcadia’s licence eight years ago permitted 17,000 attendees – 2,000 more than was being requested.

Mr Phipps said: “It would be absolute nonsense for me to pretend you could walk at the side of Queen Square and be unaware of the event, so our job is to minimise disruption.

“This is a challenge that we will need to rise to, but that is true of all licensing applications.”

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He said there would be provision for cyclists but no car parking so that revellers were encouraged to use public transport or active travel.

He said one of the objections suggested the event could allow paedophiles to be in close contact with children but that this was clearly unreasonable and “catastrophised” what could happen at a music gig.

FKP Scorpio director Daniel Ealam said they had put on successful concerts at Wembley Stadium and city centre locations including Cardiff, Nottingham and Swansea.

Bristol City Council senior pollution control officer Mark Curtis said he had agreed conditions with the promoters over the management of the site but they had not reached agreement on noise levels for residents in Queen Square itself, which would be required before the events could happen.

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Announcing the decision, sub-committee chairman Cllr Richard Eddy (Conservative, Bishopsworth) said the panel added an extra condition to have a phone number and email on public display for residents to contact with any complaints.

He said: “I hope and believe the applicants are committed to making this work on what is a challenging site.”

The events will be open to the public from 5pm to midnight on the Friday, 2pm to midnight on Saturday and 2pm until 11.45pm on Sunday.

Alcohol sales will end 75 minutes earlier, with performances coming to a close an hour before people must have left the site.

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