Poll: Police refuse to comment on Stonham Barn’s plan to double capacity to 10,000 for event days

Tim Passmore

Tim Passmore - Credit: Archant

The police and crime commissioner has criticised Suffolk Constabulary for not formally commenting on major proposals to double a venue’s capacity which could see almost 10,000 on site.

Bosses at Stonham Barns also want to extend the hours it can sell alcohol at the leisure and retail complex near Stowmarket.

They have applied to Mid Suffolk District Council for a licence with a meeting to take place on October 3.

But the police have decided not to make a formal comment as part of the new licence’s application. The bid has provoked opposition from residents, Stonham Aspal Parish Council and an environmental protection officer.

No one from Stonham Barns has been available to comment. A spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary said the force had been working with Mid Suffolk to make amendments to the application.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, said: “I do think that the police should have responded, no question about it; even if there’s not much to say – it does not help with public confidence.

“In this particular case the police had no issues (recorded crimes) reported in any shape or form.

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“However, my view is that it’s not what we need going forward. We need to make sure the Constabulary responds because it’s an issue about public confidence.

“I think there needs to be a proper response and this is what I want to see and I will make sure it will be done in the future. It’s absolutely essential that police take part in the process.”

There are concerns over how safety would be managed if 9,999 people were on site, up from the current maximum of 5,000.

A resident’s letter opposing the proposal says: “With the additional proposed licence allowing for up to 9,999 guests on site and only one approved access to the site allowed by planning; there is a high likelihood of the road being completely jammed when big events are held causing public nuisance as well as a risk to public safety.”

Inspector Paul Crick, from Suffolk police’s alcohol and licensing department, said: “They (Mid Suffolk) have fully researched the impact of the application, making suitable amendments.

“Suffolk police had no further comment to add to the proposal, which met and satisfied our desired criteria.

“If the new application is approved, all future events will have to go through an event management plan, each of which will be assessed on an individual basis and will be revised by the licensing authority.”