AUTHORITIES refused to grant a licence for the Matt Cardle gig in Boston on grounds of public safety.
The decision was made at a hearing of Boston Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee on Wednesday where it was also revealed only 250 tickets had been sold – and just 18 locally.
The sub-committee listened to concerns over a host of public safety issues from Lincolnshire Police, Fire, Lincolnshire Safety Advisory Group and the council’s environmental health department.
The sub-committee said organiser Mick Vines and his associates had ‘failed to produce an event management plan, an appropriate traffic management plan, an impact assessment and detailed stewarding and security information’.
Concerns were also expressed for the lack of a child safety plan, especially given late changes to the event to include family attractions.
At the hearing, Stephen Stanley, from Solid Entertainments which was helping to promote the event, said: “Mr Vines really wanted to put Boston Town Football Club on the map and wanted people to visit Boston and help businesses in the community.”
But he admitted the show had not sold many tickets. “It should have attracted around 1,500 people,” he said. “But ticket sales so far amount to about 250 – so we are not talking about a great number of people.”
Mr Vines added that only about 18 tickets had been sold to people in the Boston area.
Principal environmental health officer Trevor Darnes outlined the reasons for his objection to a licence and read out a series of correspondence from himself and Mr Vines.
He said: “It was becoming more and more obvious to me that these people were out of their depth in terms of providing an adequate health and safety plan.”
In their written submission police stated: “It is of grave concern that there is eveidence of failure to comply with comments regarding public safety issues even before any licence has been granted.”
A series of Polish entertainments were added to the event.
But at the meeting, police revealed some posters advertising the concert had gone up around Boston in Polish offering tickets for £25, instead of the standard £31.50 price. When police advised organisers this could cause ‘tensions’ in the community, the ticket price was subsequently reduced for all.
Mr Stanley said: “All Mr Vines was trying to do was bring the community together and trying to find a way to sell more tickets.”
Concerns were raised by Kieron Davey, of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, about the lack of an emergency plan to evacuate disabled people, and a lack of a traffic management plan to ensure emergency vehicles could get to the venue.
Mr Stanley pointed out that a very small number of people were expected for the concert at the ground, which has the capacity to hold 20,000.
Speaking on behalf of Mr Vines, Mr Stanley told the sub-committee: “He admits he thought he could just fill in the forms and appoint somebody to take it forward, but I do still think that the whole affair is a little bit blown out of proportion. If this event doesn’t go ahead it will leave a very bad taste in the mouth for everyone concerned, for Mr Vines and for the Boston community as a whole.”
After the meeting, Mr Vines told The Standard he was ‘absolutely gutted’ with the decision and had invested £19,000 in the gig, which he now stood to lose. “I feel like I have been stabbed in the back by the police and council,” he said.
l Mr Vines said standard ticket holders are now being automatically refunded, with VIP ticketholders being refunded by post.