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Festival wins licence and defeats high court challenge Published Date: 21/08/2021

James Rankin, from Francis Taylor Building, reported on LinkedIn that on Wednesday 28th July 2021 Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council granted a licence to Matt’s BBQ for a one-day event on 14th August for 7,000 people.

The application was heavily opposed by local residents and Wrotham and Stansted Parish Councils. Two days later Wrotham Parish Councils lodged a claim for Judicial Review challenging the grant on the basis that there was a defect in the application. The claim alleged a breach of Regulation 25(ii)(a) in that blue notices were not posted every 50m around the perimeter of the site, as well as each entrance to the site (including public footpaths). This would have meant posting 30 notices. The applicant posted 3 notices at the main entrances to the site.

The objectors maintained that this meant that the Licensing sub-committee had no jurisdiction to hear the application.

The Licensing sub-committee found that there had not been substantial compliance with the regulation in that notices should have been posted at all of the entrances to the site, but that they would continue to hear the application.

Following the IOL Protocol the council served notice of the application on all local (and not so local Parish Councils) together with all the ward councillors. The application was also advertised on the council’s website and in the Kent Chronicle.

The LSC looked at the consequences of the defect in procedure and found that there were none. 35 representations were received covering every conceivable objection. Counsel for the objectors called evidence from a traffic expert, a noise expert and even a weather expert. No one had been disadvantaged.

Following an eight hour hearing, the licence was granted with conditions.

Wrotham Parish Council filed its claim for JR on Friday 30th July seeking an expedited hearing for permission and an injunction preventing the LSC from issuing the licence. 600 pages of evidence and papers went before Cheema-Grubb J.  She refused permission on the papers saying that the claim was “unarguable”.

James represented the applicant.