SADDLEWORTH’S INAUGURAL Cotton Clouds music festival, featuring some of the biggest pop names of the 1980s and ‘90s, goes ahead as planned this weekend.
But it was touch and go for organisers, Rick and Max Lees, before the clouds finally lifted on their five-year dream.
With more than 3,000 tickets sold and just 18 days before the one-day festival at Saddleworth Cricket Club on Saturday, August 12, the pair finally received a licence from Oldham Council.
To do so they agreed to scale back the terms of their original licence application, including reduced hours for the live music and alcohol sales.
Instead of opening hours of 11.30am to 11pm over three days, the event will be one day only on the current site.
Bars must close at 9.30pm, the last band – the Coral – will finish at 10pm, with all people off the site, adjoining Calf Lane, Manchester Road and Well-i-Hole, by 10.30pm.
A total of nine representations were made against the licence application and 29 representations in support.
The main objections centred round anti-social behaviour, excessive noise levels, potential for drug taking, litter and parking problems.
Those concerns were initially dealt with at a public meeting back in June, in documentation sent to householders in the vicinity of the site and at the Licensing Panel hearing on Tuesday, July 25.
Rick, once a member of Greenfield band Twisted Wheel, told the panel: “We have spent the last five years trying to source financial backing to make this event happen.
“We have worked tirelessly on the logistics and promotion of our event so far to great success, albeit at a substantial outlay.
“Over 2,000 tickets have been sold to people in the OL postcode. Local people want to see this event happen.
“Businesses are looking forward to opening their doors to the wealth of customers who will attend.
“If everyone who attends spends £20 throughout the course of the day that generates £70,000 towards the local economy.
“And from those travelling from further afield the event serves to promote Saddleworth and Oldham as a tourist destination.
“We feel we have done everything by the book planning the event. Our door remains open to discuss our plans with the authorities and residents to build a safe and family friendly event.”
Dennis Rogerson, one of the chief objectors, said: “I think it was very poor the amount of time local residents got (regarding consultation).
“The official notices went up on June 6 when the police and the organisers were in talks in February 2017.
“My wife and I don’t feel Saddleworth Cricket Club is a fit and proper place to hold a pop concert. Where we live is a residential area.
“We don’t want loud, banging music because we would find it obtrusive. I am 72 and my wife is 78 and of a nervous disposition.
“Our house is only 50 yards away from the arena. I find it an infringement of my civil and human rights because we are entitled to peace and quiet in our home.”
In granting the application, OMBC’s Licensing Panel said: “Having considered the application as amended and the representations both in favour and against the application, we consider the application should be granted subject to the amendments detailed in the supplementary report.”