Show must go on - but with no alcohol

BOSSES organising this weekend's South Suffolk Show have reacted with anger after they were told they would be unable to serve alcohol at the annual event.

BOSSES organising this weekend's South Suffolk Show have reacted with anger after they were told they would be unable to serve alcohol at the annual event.

The usual pint of Suffolk ale will not be available for the first time in the show's history due to a delay in St Edmundsbury Borough Council receiving the application.

However, despite not meeting the deadline, Geoff Bailes, secretary of the South Suffolk Agricultural Association, which runs the show, blamed the new licensing system.

Mr Bailes said: “There was nothing the council officer could do - he said they needed 10 clear working days before the event to issue the licence.

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“The new regulations are too restrictive. You used to be able to appeal to a magistrate up to the day before an event.

“I'm very angry because it will affect the show but it will go on - just not with a glass of local ale.”

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Stephen Lang, who runs the bar at the show, said: “They refused us a licence because a bank holiday is not included as a working day.

“It was a clerical error but these problems are not insurmountable - commonsense should prevail.”

A spokesman for St Edmundsbury said: “As a local authority we have to abide by the law, in this case the Licensing Act 2003.

“The law states that applicants for temporary event notices must give notice at least ten working days before the first day of the event. This is to allow time for the police to respond and, if necessary, hold a hearing.

“If notices arrive at our offices beyond that deadline we cannot proceed with them.”

Despite the setback the event is expected to attract up to 12,000 people to an 80-acre site at Ampton, near Bury St Edmunds, which will host events including motorcycle stunt shows and dog display teams.

One event new to this year's show is racing carriages around a course at “break neck speed”.

The grand ring programme will also include a number of horse showing classes, including working hunters and private driving, a parade of hounds and a modern machinery display featuring heavy and light agricultural equipment as well as many of the new models of motor vehicles featured on the exhibitors stands.

The countryside ring will feature the judging of the donkey and the Suffolk heavy horse classes, a side saddle costume and concours d'elegance class.

Mr Bailes said: “The show has very strongly supported horse and pony classes and over the years the show has produced quite a number of national champions.

“Our livestock classes are also extremely well supported and we may have a bumper number of exhibits this year.

“In 2005 we had well over 150 trade stands with both agricultural and non-agricultural, and local and national companies and organisations represented. There is also a steadily growing craft marquee, which contains a very diverse range of stalls and our ever expanding food hall, which provides us with an interesting and tasty range of produce, both of which will again be sited adjacent to the countryside ring.”

A range of Suffolk fare and soft drinks will be available but the beer kegs will remain sealed.

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