Residents’ fury as Mint Festival goers caused ‘chaos’ and left behind ‘used needles’

NADV 17092332AM9 Mint Dance Festival. (17092332AM9)
NADV 17092332AM9 Mint Dance Festival. (17092332AM9)

Residents say they will fight to get a three-year licence overturned after being invaded by fans of last week’s Mint dance music festival at Stockeld Park.

People living in Wentworth Gate and neighbouring Wetherby streets near the site complained of traffic chaos, litter (including used needles), loud music which could be heard for miles around, and people from the festival urinating in private gardens.

Jim Walton, of Spofforth Hill in Wetherby, said their campaign was gathering pace: “There is almost certainly more than enough in both evidence and complaints to ensure that the licence is revoked.

“The behaviour constituted public disorder, public nuisance, lewd behaviour, trespass and criminal damage.”

And the residents have the backing of Wetherby Town Council whose members objected to Mint Festival organisers’ license application for a three-day festival at Stockeld for the next three years, when it went to Harrogate Borough Council in August.

People have voiced their anger that the local authority had jurisdiction over an event so close to its boundary with another council.

Jim added: “It is absurd that one authority is allowed to make a decision which affects residents living in another authority with impunity.

“This was a mixed brew of circumstances that had the potential for an even worse outcome.”

The Mint festival has been the subject of complaints at other venues, including Lotherton Hall, it has been held at over the years but was last held in the area when it was staged at the Racecourse in 2015.

Wetherby ward Coun Gerald Wilkinson told the News that he voiced his opposition at the Harrogate licensing meeting that it should not go ahead.

“We made it absolutely clear that on the grounds of preventing a public nuisance this event should not be granted a license.

“The fact that a public nuisance has now clearly been caused is of no comfort we warned Harrogate that this would have an impact on Wetherby but the event was given the go ahead anyway – we are bitterly disappointed by this whole affair.”

Fellow Wetherby Ward Coun Alan Lamb added: “Residents should not have to put up with this, I have every sympathy with people who have had people sat in their gardens, waiting on their streets and in general having to cope with an invasion of party goers who descended on to the streets of Wetherby.

“The event organisers do not seem to be capable of managing this event and the impact on Wetherby is just totally unacceptable.

“We are taking this issue up with the licensing team at Harrogate and we plan to make it very clear how unhappy local residents are as a result of this weekend’s events and call for a review of the license.”

Wetherby MP Alec Shelbrooke said he too had received many complaints from local residents who were affected by Saturday’s Mint Festival.

“I am appalled at the lack of consideration from the licensing authority of the impact the events of Saturday night have had on my constituents and I will be urging them to look for an alternative site for next year.”

A spokesman for Harrogate Borough Council confirmed that the authority had received numerous complaints from the public about the festival but added that the license is due to be reviewed next month.

“The event licence which was granted for the Mint Festival is held in perpetuity unless revoked, as a result of a review, or the premises licence is surrendered by the holder,” said the spokesman.

“A multi-agency de-brief meeting will be held on 16 October where all the relevant regulatory agencies, the organiser and suppliers, will be present so that we can evaluate the event.

“This will include looking at any complaints that have been received.”