VILLAGERS fear they will have to go into ‘lock-down’ if a massive college ball at Sherbourne Park is allowed to go ahead.
Oxford colleges St Anne’s and St Peter’s plan to hold their annual ball at the grade II listed country house on Saturday May 13 from around 7pm.
It will see up to 1,500 students and alumni descend onto the historic property to enjoy the ‘Spectrum’ festival, including three stages – with live music acts, DJ’s and comedy.
There will also be a swimming pool, fireworks and fairground rides including a big wheel. From 1am the event will transform into a ‘silent disco’ – with music played through headphones.
Event organiser Tegan Eldgridge has applied for a license which will allow alcohol to be served – which will be free to ticket holders – until 4am on Sunday morning.
But a number of objections have been raised about the license, with Warwickshire Police, council environmental health, and some residents all voicing their concerns.
Both police and environmental health officers at Warwick District Council say there will almost certainly be disturbance to nearby residents both from the site and when coaches – of which there are expected to be around 30 – leave in the early hours.
There were also worries that if students were made to leave the premises due to disruptive or violent behaviour there would be nowhere nearby for them to go.
A police spokesman said: “While the event is due to go to a silent disco from 1am in the main marquee, with potentially 1,500 onsite after that time, it can be reasonably argued that the noise and disturbance to local residents will still be evident as there is no mention in the event’s operating schedule that coaches taking attendees back will be staggered throughout the evening.
“The logistical task of taking 1,500 people back to Oxford at 4am plus will in itself cause a major disruption and disturbance in the general area.”
Residents have also voiced their fears saying the village will have to go into ‘lock-down’ mode and that nearby livestock and horses could be distressed by the loud noise. They have also said there could be traffic problems and that at past events they have had incidents of fly-tipping and intoxicated people causing a disturbance in the village.
One resident even said at a previous event he was ‘accosted’ in the village by security staff who tried to take his camera.
Another resident opposed to the event said: “The website for the Spectrum Ball shows an illuminated ferris wheel and promises participants ‘spectacular entertainment, with fairground rides in a festival of colour and light with drinks flowing all night.
“This description is more like a ‘rave up’ than a ball and is totally inappropriate within a small village community, who have the right to peacefully enjoy their homes.”
The application form submitted by Mr Eldridge says staff will endeavour to keep noise to a minimum and employ security guards and the British Red Cross to oversee health and security.
Warwick District Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Panel are set to discuss the application today (Tuesday April 25).