Review launched by council over Heveningham Hall fireworks 'chaos'

Indie rock band Razorlight playing to the audience at Heveningham Hall fireworks

Indie rock band Razorlight playing to the audience at Heveningham Hall fireworks - Credit: Alex Parnell

A review will be conducted into 'chaotic' scenes at a large-scale fireworks display in east Suffolk at the weekend, council bosses have said. 

The event at Heveningham Hall on Saturday, which also featured a headlining performance from indie rockers Razorlight, attracted an "overwhelming" number of people, organisers said. 

Many people said they queued for hours outside the grounds in gridlocked traffic but still failed to get in to see the display. 

Others reported issues over vendors running out of food and drink. 

Around 15,000 people are estimated to have attended the event, which raised more than £100,000 for charity.

Event organisers have since apologised and offered refunds to people who bought pre-paid tickets but were unable to enter the site ahead of the fireworks. 

East Suffolk Council has now confirmed it will be meeting with organisers over the event. 

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We are aware of the events that occurred on Saturday night, and we are arranging a meeting with the organisers to review what happened.”

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Suffolk police also said the force will be part of a debrief meeting held with partners in due course, particularly focused on traffic management. 

One person who attended the event described the car parking as "total chaos" and also raised issues over staffing, lighting and signage. 

He said: "The road was total chaos, no control for pedestrians or people entering or exiting.

"It was so poorly lit in the car park area that it was hard to even know where to go. There was not a single bit of signage, no staff and it was a dangerous environment to have families walking through traffic."

Jon Hunt, who owns Heveningham Hall near Halesworth, was named as the second richest person in East

Heveningham Hall owner Jon Hunt - Credit: PA

Heveningham Hall, near Halesworth, is owned by billionaire Jon Hunt, who founded Foxtons estate agency.

In a statement, issued on Sunday, organisers said: "We would like to apologise to those who were unable to enter the site ahead of the fireworks at our annual charitable event.

"Despite the tireless efforts of our stewards and volunteers from the local community, we were overwhelmed and totally underestimated the response due to a number of factors including not having last year’s event, the headline act attracting many more people and favourable weather.

"We will be undertaking a full review to improve our access arrangements.

"We will, of course, be issuing refunds to those who had purchased tickets in advance but were unable to enter the site ahead of the fireworks."

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