PLANS to increase the number of people attending a major festival in Bucks has been met with concerns about ‘overcrowding’, traffic chaos and drugs.

Brand Events TM Limited has applied to Bucks Council for a variation of a premises licence for Pub in the Park in Marlow, May 12-15.

The Higginson Park food and music festival was inspired by Marlow celebrity chef Tom Kerridge. Additional to appearances by popular music entertainers is the sale of alcohol on site.

Brand Events TM Limited has held a licence to operate there since February 2017. It now wishes to amend the capacity limits from 6,999 persons to 7,999 – effectively 8,000 attendees.

However, locals have objected to the proposal saying the town centre is already at full capacity, that it cannot cope with the increase in traffic, and that the event causes noise and “unpleasant drunkenness”.

They also have concerns about security, drug and alcohol abuse at the event, and people potentially getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

But the applicant asserts a Crowd Management Plan is in place, and that security personnel on site will work with police to address anti-social behaviour.

“As a resident, I object to this increase in numbers,” said Sarah Webb. “The town centre is already at capacity with this event. There is not the infrastructure to cope with the increase in traffic and footfall.

“As a resident who has been here during the event and lives in the very centre of Marlow, this causes congestion, noise and unpleasant drunkenness over many days.”

“I strongly object to the application,” wrote another resident. “The added numbers would add significantly to the wear and tear of Higginson Park, which is already in a poor state due to excess use and lack of long-term maintenance, plus the added ongoing problems of ground water and flooding.

“There is no indication as to the added security proposed on the site and policing of the town, the train station and the park.

“The added issues of consumption of alcohol and the lack of information regarding the additional policing in the park, the town and driving on the roads.

“With the previous 7,000 license there is no data available as to resulting breath testing and fines due to drug and alcohol abuse whilst at the event, subsequent leaving and driving.”

“We are applying to increase the capacity from 6,999 to 7,999,” said Brand Events TM Limited. “All other elements will remain the same. There is a Crowd Management Plan submitted with this application to support the site capability for these increased numbers.

“Signs detailing prohibited and banned items will be clearly displayed at the point(s) of entry. Prominent signage shall set out the conditions of entry and advise patrons that disorderly and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated. Security personnel shall remove any items of contraband from patrons and agree a chain of custody system with the local police. A noise management plan shall be produced.”

Bucks Council will debate the licence at a meeting on April 26.