Pub in the Park – Bulletin 1

We have seen and heard mixed views on whether Pub in the Park should be welcomed. Some people think it is a fantastic idea while others are concerned about negative aspects such as:

  • Damage to The Heath
  • Traffic congestion
  • Disturbance of the local residents
  • Preventing public access to Common Land
  • Using The Heath for commercial gain

We have met with Brand Events (the organisers) and they have assured us that they will take special care of The Heath and they will have a park and ride system to minimise traffic congestion. Reassured by their expression of care and trusting they will address the other concerns raised, Friends of The Heath are not objecting to Pub in the Park.

However, we have objected to the application for an annual premises licence. In our view the licence should be applicable to a single specific event. Given the novel nature of the event, its actual impact must be assessed before granting a licence for any subsequent event.

Kevin Griffiths

11 thoughts on “Pub in the Park – Bulletin 1

  1. Your objection to the premises licence will have been deemed ‘invalid’ – there will be nothing you can do to stop it going through. It is for life, transferable and capable of applications to extend. More importantly, could Friends of the Heath clarify where they stand on the legal requirement for Common Land (which The Heath is) to have permission granted under Section 38 of the Planning Inspectorate before it can be legally enclosed with a fence? The Heath has been common land for many centuries – are we going to be in danger of losing our rights to it? The same event organisers with the same Tom Kerridge are also starting to push The Gourmet Picture Company, which is occupying the park in Bath (where Pub in the Park is also going next year) this Christmas for 3 weeks with huge heated marquees… It has only been going for a year. Slippery slopes are difficult to climb back up. Where are the Nether Knutsford Freeholders now?

    1. As you probably know, Cheshire East Council has granted the premises licence to Brand Events.

      Thank you for raising the Section 38 issue. It is something to be wary of. The structures for this event will be temporary and should have no lasting impact.

      We will be vigilant and guard against excessive use, and I hope everyone who wants to protect The Heath can pull together.

      1. Temporary structures that are not for the purposes of land management or livestock all require approval from DEFRA. Please read the Common Land Guidance sheets 1a, 1b and 1c. Events for private profit (and this one will bring in well over quarter of a million) are unlikely to be given approval. I wonder why Brand Events are therefore not applying? The following article about illegal events with no permission on common land in Surrey last month should be a warning:
        Friends of the Heath – please don’t undermine our rights to Knutsford Heath. Please do not allow an illegal event on our common land.

      2. I feel really let down by FOTH. As an organisation your primary goal should be to safeguard the Heath as common land for the people of Knutsford. It seems you rolled over at the first request to use it as a money maker. I think you need to possibly consult your constitution as a group and have a think about what you are actually there to do. If this precious and much utilised common land has its status eroded by commercial use. You will need be prepared to answer the towns people on why you let this happen without any opposition.

    2. I am surprised that Friends Of The Heath have not checked the legal position re DEFRA or objected to this event,surely the correct venue for a purely commercial venture
      such as Pub in the Park is Tatton Park?The Heath is not a Park it is Common Land and should only be used for events that have historical validity.I appeal to you to rethink your support .

  2. Really disappointed with the Friends of the Heath for the stance they have taken on the Pub in the Park. Fencing off any part of the Heath requires section 38 approval in law. Section 38 is there to protect common land from historic erosion of rights of the commoners. This event is setting a very dangerous precedent that will enable others to start using the Heath for more and more events. In time this could lead to applications for building of tarmac sections and or erection of semi-permanent structures….and we know where that will lead. Do the Friends of the Heath not see this as a potential danger. Why are they not looking at the bigger picture.

    I’m sure Brand Events are honest in their intentions to take care of the Heath, but that is not the issue. It is our loss of rights that is at risk here.

    1. Rest assured FoTH would resist the construction of permanent or semi-permanent structures on The Heath. Its common land status must be protected so everyone can continue to enjoy it.

  3. The current reality is that FoTH have publicly given sanction to an event that is fencing off the Heath for 10 days in September next year denying the commoners access to a large section of common land. I did’t see any consultation of the commoners on that. How are the FoTH going to remedy that situation?

    Perhaps it would be good for FoTH to go back to Brand Events and tell them that they will withdraw their approval unless the event is unfenced allowing access for all on the Heath.

    Failure to do so could open up FoTH to criticism and pubic embarrassment, particularly for the two Town Councillors that sit on the committee.

  4. I am also really disappointed that Friends of the Heath have allowed this to happen, and that this should not be permitted on an annual basis before the first one has taken place. As everyone who lives in Knutsford knows, traffic round this area is always particularly bad and I’m not convinced that a park and ride from Tatton Park, if that’s where the parking will be, will work. Garden Road is a nightmare for traffic, and every week the M6 is closed and traffic piled back up Manchester Road & Northwich Road. In the 35 years that I’ve lived in Knutsford, I’ve seen the Fair & the Circus used on the Heath for a few days, but this is a completely different ball game with music & drinks licenses permitted. As I said in my letter to the Knutsford Guardian, this is the thin end of the wedge and we should all appreciate the Heath as much as we can while we still can.

  5. We are very disappointed that the Friends of the Heath are not objecting to this event. This is not what Common Land should be used for i.e. commercial gain. This event is far too big and un-neighbourly and will be denying access to users unless a ticket is purchased. If you look at the Pub in The Park website this shows the extent of the area they will occupy. This will cause a restriction on the use of the Heath by people who use it for exercise and dog walking. We remind you that legal permission has to be obtained for fencing off an area on Common Land. We consider that this is too big a subject to be decided by the Committee alone and all members should have a vote.

  6. I am disappointed in FOH.
    You are completely naive or complicit in allowing a paid for commercial event to effectively privatise this public space.
    What else are you going to allow on the Heath for private commercial gain?
    Once you allow this private function you have essentially opened the doors for any private function.
    Can I therefore hire the Heath for a function I would like to hold ?

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