Shropshire Star

Residents and events promoter argue over plan to hold more big name concerts at Ludlow Castle

Frustrated residents and a live music promoter have been arguing over plans to hold more big-name concerts at Ludlow Castle.

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Ludlow Castle was the venue for a series of big-name concerts last year, with more already announced for 2024

Last summer the venue, owned and operated by the Powis Estates, hosted a series of four concerts in July, featuring a number of top music stars including Kaiser Chiefs and Nile Rodgers and Chic.

Promoter Futuresound Events is now looking to increase the number of concerts and has asked Shropshire Council for a licence that would allow it to host up to eight events – each with 7,000 paying customers.

A licence is currently in place for the venue which allows 'unlimited' events, but they are restricted to 4,999 people – although the limit has been disputed by a lawyer representing Futuresound Events.

Shropshire Council's licensing act subcommittee met this week to consider the proposal.

The committee heard submissions from a number of Ludlow residents opposed to the plans, as well as the promoter.

Addressing the committee, a representative of Futuresound Events said the firm's owner was from the town, and wanted to "bring something back" to Ludlow.

He said: "The owner of the company is a Ludlow resident, born and raised in Ludlow. His mother lives on Mill Street just around the corner from the castle and he has long seen Ludlow Castle as a great location for events of this nature and really wanted to bring something, and bring something back to the town in which he grew up.

"And indeed that's what we achieved in 2023 with a very successful run of concerts that were incredibly well attended – and incredibly well attended by the local residents."

He added that a 'key feature of the events' is the inclusion of a pre-sale, restricted only to people from the Ludlow area.

He said: "This is very much about bringing something back to Ludlow, putting something back in the community of Ludlow and doing something great for the town of Ludlow.

"This is a live music-focused business which is interested in bringing live music and events of great cultural significance and relevance to the town of Ludlow and can really add something of value to the community of Ludlow and commerce in the town."

But the committee heard from a number of residents who said the noise and disruption from last year's events had been unbearable.

They also voiced fears about noise not just from the concerts, but from sound checks which could be permitted from 9am.

John Payne, the solicitor representing Futuresound, accepted there is a balancing act where the nuisance caused by noise from the events is concerned.

He said: "It is recognised that one does not expect to hear absolute silence from events, but by the same token one does not expect to be unreasonably disturbed.

"What we say is we have looked at that balance and have volunteered and agreed with the relevant authorities a significant number of conditions that tip that balance in favour of granting this licence."

He added: "The castle and the promoter has no interest in deliberately causing a nuisance or disturbance to people who live by the castle. If they are disturbed they need to call, as they did last year, so action can be promptly taken."

Addressing the committee, John Cartwright of Ludlow Civic Society said the venue was wholly unsuitable as a base for a series of large amplified concerts.

He said: "Last year the noise and disturbance for those in the immediate vicinity around the castle, by which I mean principally but not exclusively, residents of Dinham, Mill Street, Broad Street and the Linney, were intolerable.

"There was no escaping the noise, it was impossible to sit peacefully in one's garden or to concentrate in one's house.

"This venue is not an isolated field like Glastonbury or in an enclosed auditorium, it is an open air urban space surrounded by dwellings.

"Inside the castle walls the music might be a high quality but by the time it escapes and and bounces round the buildings outside it becomes a disturbing cacophonous noise."

He added: "We submit that this application destroys the peaceful enjoyment of possessions for a significant number of people, and indeed the ability of many affected to work from home."

Another resident told the committee last year's experience had been 'ear splitting' and 'absolutely excruciating' adding that she had been unable to get through to anyone at the venue to report her complaints.

Jennifer Gill, a Dinham resident, added: "The distress of residents in the area affected cannot be justified by the financial gains of Powis Estates and the Leeds-based company Futuresound Events."

Resident Simon Burke also spoke, saying that his family could "not escape" the noise last year, and had already decided to go on holiday during the four days of concerts already planned for this year.

He said: "It is not a pleasant feeling that one is being forced from one's home."

Mr Burke said that an increased number of days permitted for concerts would only increase the problem.

The committee said it would notify the applicant and the interested parties within five days of the hearing.