Exeter Rugby Club Secures Approval for Annual Concert Series at Sandy Park

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In a groundbreaking decision, Eeter City Council has given the green light to Exeter Rugby Club for an annual series of concerts at Sandy Park stadium. The approval was granted at Monday’s council planning committee meeting, marking a permanent variation to a planning restriction that had long prevented the use of the stadium for music or performance events.

This development comes after four trial concerts held at the stadium in June, which saw a modest attendance of 3,500 spectators. Undeterred by the small turnout, Exeter Rugby Club pressed forward with their application, backed by comprehensive noise and transport impact surveys conducted during the trial events.

The granted consent allows the rugby club to organize six weekend concerts each year, spanning from May 1 to July 15. These events will not only transform Sandy Park into a vibrant music venue but also extend the permissible hours for amplified music until 10:30 pm. With a cap of 15,500 attendees, including event staff, these concerts are poised to become a significant addition to the city’s cultural landscape.

The planning restriction that hindered Sandy Park’s evolution into a multifaceted venue was originally imposed over a decade ago when the stadium’s capacity was doubled. The recent decision represents a pivotal moment for the rugby club, as they successfully navigate through bureaucratic barriers.

Interestingly, the club’s optimism in securing the council’s approval was evident when they commenced ticket sales two months before formal approval. This strategic move reflects their confidence in the positive outcomes of the trial concerts, a confidence that proved well-placed.

The council’s licensing committee had earlier paved the way for diverse events at Sandy Park, endorsing its use for boxing, wrestling, theatre, film, and music. However, the trial concerts weren’t without their challenges, as local residents voiced concerns about anti-social behavior, noise disturbances, litter, and traffic issues.

During Monday’s meeting, a public speaker raised concerns about the trial events, citing seventeen complaints and emphasizing the similarity of issues raised during the trial period. Despite these concerns, many residents appear resigned to the inevitable outcome, viewing the decision as a “fait accompli.” The speaker expressed dismay over the permanence of the granted consent, with residents feeling like “collateral damage.”

In response, a representative speaking on behalf of Exeter Rugby Club defended the trial events as a success, minimizing their impact on the surrounding environment. The representative highlighted the economic benefits brought to the city, including millions of pounds in revenue and the creation of a “much-needed four-star hotel.” They argued that these events played a crucial role in addressing the current cost-of-living crisis.

However, not all council members were completely on board. A councillor suggested a 9:30 pm curfew for Sunday concerts to accommodate nearby children’s sleep patterns. The representative revealed that the club had experimented with an earlier finish but expressed a desire for concerts to extend later into the evening.

National Highways also weighed in on the decision, requesting that the main acts for each concert start no earlier than 9 pm. This staggered approach, with support acts on stage from 4 pm, aims to mitigate the impact of event-generated traffic on the nearby junction 30 of the M5.

The council’s development director sought to allay concerns by highlighting the rigorous examination of all relevant issues by independent experts. These experts, it was affirmed, found “no significant impacts” resulting from the trial events, providing a robust foundation for the council’s decision.

As Exeter Rugby Club embarks on this new venture, the city eagerly anticipates a cultural renaissance at Sandy Park, transforming the rugby stronghold into a dynamic and versatile entertainment hub. With the permanent consent granted, the club now has the opportunity to weave music into the fabric of Sandy Park’s identity, enhancing the city’s cultural tapestry for years to come.

Danielle Trigg
Danielle Trigghttps://newswriteups.com/
Journalist Danielle is a skilled journalist specializing in regional coverage across the United Kingdom. With her wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge, Danielle dives into the stories that matter to local communities. Her meticulous research and engaging writing style captivate readers, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic business landscape. Danielle's commitment to delivering accurate and thought-provoking news sets her apart, making her an invaluable asset to the News Write Ups team. danielle@newswriteups.com

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