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Gig objectors could appeal.

Byline: By Peter Taylor

An appeal could be mounted against a controversial music festival after it was given the green light by council chiefs.

Both residents and police announced they were considering appeals after the Hifi Festival, scheduled to take place at Wallhouses, near Matfen, Northumberland, in May, was yesterday given the go-ahead.

Chief Supt Graham Pears of the Northumberland area command said: "We are very disappointed with the decision and are considering our position with a view to a possible appeal."

Dave Price, chairman of the Residents Against Hifi group, said: "We are very disappointed with the decision as we believe there are many problems with the application, not just for Wallhouses but for the whole of Tynedale.

"We are now discussing whether to appeal with our solicitor. This is a financial decision for us as this hearing has cost us a lot of money but we still feel very strongly that this should not go ahead."

A three-man committee sat for four days at a hearing in Ponteland before granting permission for the festival to take place on land near Wallhouses Farm, but its chairman, Coun Arnold Baker, said the decision had not been unanimous.

Scores of residents and Northumbria Police filed objections with Castle Morpeth Council against the festival, which is to be held on May 27 until 4am.

It will feature artists such as former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown, The Editors, DJ Paul Oakenfold and Tyneside rockers Maximo Park.

Peter Haywood, managing director of organisers the Angel Music Group, said after the hearing: "It has been a very long hearing and we are very pleased we have been granted the licence. We will be working with everyone in the North East to make it a success. We will be pushing ahead with developing and promoting the event and will continue discussions with the interested parties."

Conditions attached to the festival go-ahead include implementation of a full road management plan as set out by AMG. There will also be perimeter fences around the car parks with appropriate trackways and the fire authority will check access points to the site.

Objectors have 21 days to lodge an appeal, meaning a final decision could be within days of the festival's start date of May 27.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 29, 2006
Words:377
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