Two-day Worthing Pride fest gets the go ahead

Friday, 25 March 2022 10:45

By Jessica Hubbard - Local Democracy Reporter

Worthing Pride can go ahead at a new venue this year following a protracted licensing process.

Organisers applied to hold the event in Steyne Gardens instead of its usual venue within the Beach House grounds this year. The application was made in January with a licensing hearing due to take place on February 9.

But a number of representations from Warnes residents, who live directly adjacent to Steyne Gardens, Adur and Worthing Councils’ environmental protection team, and Sussex Police saw the hearing delayed until March 16 for further mediation.

In response to concerns over potential noise and anti-social behaviour, organisers agreed to shorten the event to two days between Friday (July 8) and Saturday (July 9). Hours were also shortened with alcohol now only being sold between 12.00pm and 10.30pm.

Music and performances will be allowed between 12-11pm and festival goers will be asked to leave at 11.30pm on both days.

Following the agreement to reduce hours and put extra measures in place, Sussex Police and the councils’ environmental protection team withdrew their objections. Director Michael Hall said: “After 17 months hard planning from the team behind Worthing Pride we are so pleased the plans for 2022 have been approved.

“We have a fantastic working relationship with the council and our previous events have shown a real safe, family friendly event for the residents of Worthing. We estimate that over the next four years Pride in Worthing will generate over £1 million in revenue towards the local economy while supporting local LGBTQi+ charities.”

At the hearing last Wednesday (March 16), organisers said that logistics were the main motivation behind the venue change.

“We came on to the grounds last year to start our build and found that the council had installed metal public barbecue and picnic benches that had been concreted into the floor that we subsequently couldn’t then remove.

“This actually reduced our capacity by 1,500 on the day causing us to refund 1,500 ticket sales.”

But one Warnes resident, who was present at the hearing, outlined why he objected to the plans.

“I would still like to strongly object to this event taking place because of the sheer number of events with music, most of them on Steyne Gardens,” he said.

“It does seem that Warnes residents are carrying the burden of the upset which is occurring because of this very loud music for very long periods of time.
“The council has not reached out properly, in my opinion, to take the opinions of local residents.”

Licensing officers said the application had been advertised in line with regulations and Pride organisers said they would put security and noise management in place to address the residents’ concerns.

“We’ve done all we can in our power to try and appease everybody’s concerns in regards to length of time and noise,” organisers said.

“We’re placing a full, dedicated town centre security team outside of the event which will help protect the Warnes residents from their concerns raised around dispersal at night time and potential anti-social behaviour around their apartments.”

The annual event can now be held at Steyne Gardens until 2025.

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