Halloween rave in doubt as police object to late-night dance event at Sunderland skate park

Derek Milligan, who has applied for a temporary event notice to hold a Halloween rave to raise funds for a skatepark and BMX track in Pallion.
Derek Milligan, who has applied for a temporary event notice to hold a Halloween rave to raise funds for a skatepark and BMX track in Pallion.
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PLANS for a Halloween rave to raise money for a not-for-profit leisure facility are in jeopardy after both police and environmental health officers objected to it.

Derek Milligan, who runs Dockside Skate Park in Pallion, is still hoping the event can go ahead when his proposal is put before a licensing sub-committee at Sunderland City Council today.

Derek, 33, now runs the indoor skate park single-handedly after parting ways with a business partner with whom he opened it last year.

It is now a not-for profit organisation, and Derek, from South Shields, is just putting the finishing touches to a quad bike track, a facility he says is badly needed in the area, to stop people riding them on fields.

Having plunged £200,000 of his own money into the skate park, he is hoping the October 31 event will raise much-needed funds to allow him to buy some quad bikes and take on five staff.

The ticketed event, catering for 170 over 18s, is planned from 10pm until 4am in a building next to the skate park, off Woodbine Terrace. But Sunderland chief inspector Sean McKenna has objected after Glasgow-born Derek submitted a temporary event notice (TEN) to the council.

“Northumbria Police have a statutory requirement under the Licensing Act 2003 in relation to the prevention of crime and disorder, public nuisance, protection of children from harm and public safety,” the submission read. “We are satisfied that allowing the event to proceed would undermine all of the licensing objectives, therefore would object to the TEN.”

Sunderland’s principal environmental officer Keith Anderson has also objected on grounds of public nuisance and health and safety.

Now Derek, who has already spent £5,000 on CCTV and an alarm system ahead of the event, says he is better prepared and that he now has all the requirements in place.

“I feel as though they were right to object in the first place, because I didn’t have the safety plan in place,” he said. “Sean McKenna came down himself to see what it was all about and Keith Anderson has been brilliant in giving me advice.

“I just hope they won’t tar everything with the same brush because it is called a rave. The purpose is to raise funds, we receive no funding so we are forced to raise our own cash to keep it going.

“Over the next couple of months, we will bring something back into the area. We need money to buy kit, but it is a challenge because not many people are willing to support us which makes it difficult.

“The event will have a Halloween theme for over 18s. There will be a variety of music, it won’t be heavy-duty music that makes you bounce out of your head. I just hope they will give us the opportunity they have got to give me a chance. I’m putting everything I’ve got into it.

“I’m planning to take on five staff. We took on an apprentice earlier this year and he’s still here. We bring people out of unemployment and we are getting things for the kids to do.”