Centre chiefs defend 'rave' decision

BOSSES of a community centre have defended their decision to close the facility for nearly three days after they feared it could be used as a site for an illegal rave.

By Richard Smith

BOSSES of a community centre have defended their decision to close the facility for nearly three days after they feared it could be used as a site for an illegal rave.

The centre by the King's Field in Aldeburgh was shut over the carnival weekend in August to prevent the suspected rave, advertised on the internet, from taking place.

Julius Reed, a bookseller in Aldeburgh, had booked the community and sports centre for a birthday party.

But Suffolk police was worried about a listing on the internet, which they say described the event as a rave, and it contacted the centre.

Mr Reed has criticised “a vocal minority of busybodies” in Aldeburgh who cancelled his party.

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But John Richardson, chairman of the centre's management group, said: “Members of the centre management group received a report that a rave was advertised on the internet for public attendance on August 19 on King's Field beside which the community centre is located.

“During a detailed discussion it was further noted that, some 10 days earlier, a reservation had been made by a Mr J Reed to hold a birthday party for 100 people at the centre between 4pm and 10.30pm on the same day.

“Mr Reed was known to a number of members present and that he had been associated with previous raves on the marshes and elsewhere.

“The centre management group decided it would be prudent to close the centre during the carnival weekend.”

Mr Richardson said the centre was closed from the evening of August 18 until noon on August 21 and Mr Reed was told his reservation would have to be cancelled and he would have his deposit refunded.

Marianne Fellowes, an Aldeburgh town councillor who wants to prevent the unlicensed use of King's Field, said: “I have advised Mr Reed that I would be willing to work in partnership with him to put on a licensed event as would other local groups.

“But, talking to a number of local people who were planning to attend the rave, they would not have done so if it had been an organised event in the community centre and their understanding was that it was to be an outdoor rave until the early hours.

“In fact a group of visitors did set up camp on King's Field in preparation for the event, had a small fire which damaged the grass and left waste/vomit to be cleared up.”

Earlier this week, Mr Reed, of Reed Books, High Street, Aldeburgh, spoke of his anger at “a vocal minority of busybodies” in the town who influenced police in their decision.

The 26-year-old had said: “As the organiser of the supposed 'rave' that was advertised on the internet, it was very upsetting and frustrating to have the plug pulled on it due to the small mindedness of the local police and Aldeburgh council who, it appears, are incapable of rational thinking when it comes to the holiday season.

“The 'rave' that was advertised on the internet was in fact a birthday party organised for the Sunday evening before carnival day in a licensed venue that would have been over by half past ten.

“The so-called advertisement was in fact an artist's event listings using the word rave as a verb, not a noun: come raving at the community hall, King's Field, Aldeburgh. Not, there's a rave on King's Field.”

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk