Cotton Clouds music festival plans give residents cause for concern

A FINAL decision on the staging of Saddleworth’s newest musical festival will be made later this month.

Cotton Clouds, organised by brothers Max and Rick Lees, is due to take place on Saturday, August 12 at Saddleworth Cricket Club.

It is understood only 800 of the 3,500 tickets remain unsold for the three stage event headlined by Liverpool indie band, the Coral, 80’s popster, Nick Hayward and ground breaking hip hop artists, the Sugarhill Gang.

But the brothers are now sweating on their licence application to Oldham Council.

A 28-day public consultation period ended on Monday, July 3 and a report is now being prepared by Council officers with a final call to be taken at an OMBC licensing committee meeting on Tuesday, July 25.

A public meeting, hosted by Max and Rick at the proposed venue last month, was attended by both Festival supporters and objectors.

It was revealed, if given the green light, the licence will permit a three-day event in 2018 and would be approved in perpetuity (indefinitely) unless there were grounds for it to be revoked.

Saddleworth Cricket Club

However, Saddleworth CC chairman, Trevor Cook, told the meeting: “It will never, ever be anything other than a one-day festival on this site. That’s the way it is going to be.”

The Independent understands the Festival was initially planned for Friarmere cricket club but eventually discounted due to logistical issues.

After some residents started to raise concerns last month the brothers circulated a detailed document to households in Greenfield, Friezland and Mossley outlining their plans to deal with potential worries.

The main objections to the Festival’s staging – which is the biggest music event in Saddleworth since the Jam played Greenfield in 1979 – surround littering, parking, anti social behaviour and noise issues.

Rick confirmed paid parking for 250 cars would be made available on Well-i-hole Farm and that a mass litter pick would take place the following day.

The meeting heard there would be up to 49 security staff available to ensure audience safety and prevent any trouble flaring.

Under 18s must be accompanied by adults and no food or drink can be brought onto the site.

Four footpaths in the area would be closed to prevent gate crashers gaining entry to the site and the Life for a Life forest off Calf Lane would be protected by double fencing.

“We want to create something we can all be proud of,” said Rick. “We have been thinking about it for around five years, and 12 months ago we said ‘let’s do it’. Hopefully, we can allay everyone’s fears.”

Rick and Max have also pledged to donate funds to the Manchester Bombing appeal and the British Tinnitus Association, in memory of Greenfield based Craig Gill, former drummer with the Inspiral Carpets.

However, there remains opposition and the Independent has seen letters and emails of objection.

Liberal Democrat John McCann, Saddleworth South ward councillor, said: “The scale of the event seems to be substantial for the venue, with sound travelling along the valley for considerable distances and it is amplified, not ‘natural’ as with a brass band.

“Parking is also a major concern given the problems we have without numerous extra vehicles.

“I have grave concerns about the effects of such an event and therefore oppose the granting of a licence for the late hours and want full parking detail.”


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