Rock festival faces wildlife worries

PROPOSALS for a rock festival have come under fire over concerns the tranquillity of a wildlife reserve - opened by naturalist David Bellamy - will be shattered by loud music.

PROPOSALS for a rock festival have come under fire over concerns the tranquillity of a wildlife reserve - opened by naturalist David Bellamy - will be shattered by loud music.

Great Cornard Upper School and Technology College pupils first came up with the idea for a festival to be hosted in Great Cornard Country Park near Sudbury.

The idea has been backed by Great Cornard Parish Council but fears have been voiced that the park's rare nesting birds and delicate habitats could be damaged.

Mike Foley, headteacher at the upper school, said: “We went to the parish council with some ideas about what we could do.

“The students had said it would be a great idea but we needed the backing of the parish council. The idea is still in its very early stages.”

In giving their backing to the concert idea, the council agreed it was important to resolve issues surrounding the impact on the wildlife and crowd control.

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Peter Beer, parish council chairman, said: “The concert will be up by allotments so it would be in an open area away from the natural habitats so I don't think there will be a problem.

“But the project is still in the very early stages and they need a licence from Babergh District Council.”

However, Deborah Ping of Wells Hall Road, Great Cornard, who volunteers in the park conducting nature surveys, said the school's own playing fields would be a better location.

She said: “I am not opposed to the idea of a rock festival, just to the idea of it being in the country park.

“There is a lot of wildlife there and an event like this will come into conflict with the habitats.

“A rock concert would be direct conflict with nesting birds, including endangered species, as well as badgers and lizards, which have been relocated to special habitats around the allotments from the nearby housing developments.

“It is also the most sensitive time of the year. Disturbance and trampling would be inevitable and I urge the organisers to find a more suitable venue.”