Knights sent packing by licensing error

A MAJOR show at one of Suffolk’s most iconic stately homes has been cancelled at the last minute due to a licensing mix up.

Babergh District Council dropped the bombshell on Melford Hall as organisers were putting the last-minute touches together for a Medieval Joust and Food Fair due to take place tomorrow and Sunday.

With thousands of people expected to descend on the village and National Trust home, plus dozens of knights and their horses, organisers said they have been left shattered by the news.

Don Quinn, who sets up events at Melford Hall, said: “We are all still in shock. The owners of Melford Hall thought they were within their rights to hold the event but jousting and other forms of entertainment are not permitted without a full premises licence if it has over 499 people.

“After a search Babergh said they had no record of the licence and the show was off.”

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Mr Quinn, MD of Snake in the Grass Events, said someone at the district council saw an advert for the event, contacted Melford Hall and said they would prosecute if the show went ahead.

“I can’t really blame the council for this, it’s just so disappointing. We asked if a licence could be fast-tracked but it will take a month. All we can do is get this sorted and make sure we put on the biggest and best show next year,” he added.

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A Babergh District Council spokesperson said: “It is really regrettable that the event organisers did not talk to Babergh about their plans and the need for the jousting and alcohol sales to be licensed.

“Sadly, we have absolutely no powers to issue a licence notice at this very late stage as it would simply not be legally valid.”

She said the event could only go ahead if an alternative location with a licence was found but warned if they went ahead without one the council would be forced to take action.

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