Festival tents to cover Imperial and Montpellier gardens for 70 days a year
CAMPAIGNERS who wanted to reduce the use of festival tents in Cheltenham's gardens say they had been dealt a vicious blow after a controversial application was approved.
Cheltenham Borough Council's planning committee gave the go-ahead to plans to allow temporary structures in Montpellier Gardens and Imperial Gardens for up to 75 days this year, and 70 days each calendar year after, despite 930 signatures calling for the application to be rejected.
Speaking at the meeting, Pat Bracegirdle, chairman of the Friends of Montpellier Bandstand and Gardens, told the council that it needed to conserve the town's historic spaces.
She said: "We have already publicly stated that we are not against festivals being held in the gardens.
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"The longer term damage, due to overuse and hastily executed renovation is yet to become fully apparent, although it will do so.
"Even if land use agreements and monitoring are stringent, the proposed number of days of use and the extensive area involved will mean that cumulative damage with inevitably be caused."
"Both amplified music, and the noise and fumes from generators, a few yards from Grade II listed buildings with single glazing is unacceptable to residents."
Cheltenham Festivals holds a series of festivals from May to mid October.
Councillor Garth Barnes (LD, College), said the festivals needed to be sustainable, and that short temporary permission might not lead to investment.
"If we want to stop noise from generators, then we do need investment into a electricity station that will provide power without the noise problems and everything else," he said.
"How are you going to get that with temporary permission? Are the festivals going to put them in if they are not given permission for long-term use?"
Councillor Bernard Fisher (LD, Swindon Village), said: "The real problem is what we are doing to the land. During the season the marquee goes up, nothing grows on it properly.
"Montpellier Gardens is not a park, it is a garden.
"We should be looking to see if we can hold the festivals somewhere else."