CONCERNS over proposals for a new Dorset festival will be heard at a licensing meeting next week (Thur April 4).

The event, Dorsom at Seaborough Manor Farm, Beaminster, is described as “a music festival providing a broad and eclectic range of popular music, specifically intended to appeal to a wide audience of varied musical tastes.”

It is expected to take place between July 18th and 21st, with ticket sales limited to 5,000 for this year, and predicted to become bigger in subsequent years.

Residents say it will swamp the area and predict traffic problems on the narrow country roads – a view shared by Dorset Police. One objector says it is the wrong event in the wrong location and fears what might happen if blue light services need to get to the site in an emergency.

Dorset Council’s licensing panel, which will meet in public in County Hall, Dorchester, is being asked to decide on whether it will allow recorded music and alcohol sales up to 3am on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with live music expected to stop at midnight. The licence application, from a Sherborne company, says that hot drinks and food will be available at all time alcohol is for sale.

Dorset Police have raised concerns about location of the site which they say, with 5,000 attending, could block local roads and prove 'challenging' should blue light services be needed in the event of an emergency.

Eight other comments have been lodged with the council from neighbours and Broadwindsor Parish Council. Many of these are concerns about public safety, alcohol and drugs, noise levels and the proximity of the site to the River Axe which may become polluted with “wild weeing” and litter.

Said the parish council comment on the application: “Large number of people in one confined area with access to alcohol and drugs, there will be an element who will indulge to excess with the usual consequences of arguments, fights, and unacceptable behaviour. Rural crime is already a growing problem – this event will be seen as an opportunity and /or cover for criminal activity on site and in the local area.”

One resident says the site is “quite simply the wrong place for such a major event” and warns of the disruption to local wildlife and effects on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Said another resident: “Seaborough is a small village with single carriageway roads, used by cyclists, walkers and many, many horse riders. We have a number of large racing stables in and around the village. The large numbers of vehicles accessing this event will seriously compromise the safety of these other local road users. I am a shift worker, working nights and weekends. This traffic congestion will impede my attendance to work.”

A map submitted with the licence application shows a range of attractions, including fun-fair style rides, camping and motorhome and caravan areas, bars, food tents and details of vehicle routes and parking.

Among the details submitted in a management plan are those for noise levels which have been agreed in consultation with Dorset Environmental Health officers.