Glastonbury Festival seeks permanent solution
It may not be obvious to all and sundry, but the nations favourite and oldest rock festival needs planning permission. The Glastonbury Festival takes place on the outskirts of the village of Pilton in 3 years of every 4. But why does it now need planning permission?
The short answer is that it always has done. At the core of the reasoning behind this, is the length of time it takes to set up the festival. As the Festival’s planning agent explains: “It should be noted that planning permission is required for the festival use because its associated ‘build and break’ period extends beyond 28-days, i.e., beyond the period that festival uses are typically allowed to take place on agricultural land under ‘permitted development’.”
Not surprisingly a festival that attracts an audience the size of the City of Nottingham into Somerset each year cannot be put up and pulled down in 4 weeks. And because of the length of time it needs, it also need planning permission.
Up until now, the annual Festival has been held under a series of temporary planning permissions. In fact the various applications can be traced back to 1979. However the last of these is due to expire in 2024. By which time Mendip District Council will have ceased to exist. In any case as MDC planners have pointed out, constantly renewing a temporary planning application is not good practise. It becomes obvious over time that the nature of the application is anything but temporary.
The current temporary application allows for: “The use of land for a mix of agricultural and purposes relating to the holding of Glastonbury Festival, the provision of infrastructure, the stationing of caravans for use by those involved in holding of the festival and the erection of a building for storage/recycling and retention of the Pyramid stage.”
So what the Festival are seeking to do now, is to seek a permanent planning application for the site. According to the Festival’s planning agent, MDC’s own officers advised: “It is vital that the future viability of the festival is secured given that it is crucial to the economic viability and wellbeing of many local businesses and communities that are reliant on both Glastonbury festival and the wider festival circuit.”
The new planning application will allow for:
- Permanent planning permission for the festival. The ‘build and break period’ associated with the main festival for the erection, dismantling of temporary buildings and infrastructure, and associate litter clearance, which will typically run from 31st March to 30th September in any given festival year
- Provision of temporary festival workers accommodation at the site for each festival event
- Permanent planning permission for the Pyramid Stage
- The annual Pilton Party – held as a fundraiser and thank you to local residents
- A camping event for up to 8-weeks during the months of July and August on ‘festival fallow’ years
- continuing agricultural use of the land when not being used for the Festival
Although no doubt it will attract a lot of comment, there is little new in this application. It seeks mainly to put on a permanent footing something that has already become a permanent fixture. And MDC’s view that a permanent application is more appropriate than a series of temporary ones, that are clearly not temporary in nature, seems logical.
The Leveller understands that the Festival is planning to hold a public consultation event on 26th January. The planning application is due to be determined by Tuesday 21 March. Local MDC councillor Cllr Nigel Hewitt-Cooper has requested that any final decision be referred to the MDC full Planning Board meeting.