Castle agents dispel rock festival fears

Lambton Castle on the Lambton Estate near Bournmoor or Burnmoor; which is to be used for weddings and events in the future
Lambton Castle on the Lambton Estate near Bournmoor or Burnmoor; which is to be used for weddings and events in the future
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FIVE licences for music, dancing and drinking have been granted to the Lambton Estate after reassurances were given to nearby residents.

People living near the estate in Picktree and Rickleton feared an increase in traffic, noise and disorder.

But several objections were withdrawn after informal meetings between the estate, residents and the police.

The licences were granted at a meeting of Durham County Council’s licensing sub-committee, held at Chester-le-Street civic centre.

Alcohol can now be served in two of the estate’s main buildings, Biddick Hall – still used by the Earl of Durham as his family home – and Lambton Castle.

Large areas of fields and woods either side of the River Wear are now licensed for music and dancing.

David Wilson, representing the estate, told the meeting: “This is not about holding large, open-air rock concerts. Road noise from the A1 motorway means that’s not an option, even if we wanted to do it.

“We are talking mostly about small, exclusive weddings inside, and perhaps a classical concert or country fair outside.

“Noise from the weddings will be mostly contained within the two main buildings.”

Mr Wilson said the licence for the castle would not be used for up to a year because a film company is using it for a drama series, although he declined to give any more details of the production.

“Our reason for applying for these licences is not to make loads of money,” Mr Wilson added. “It is to enable the estate to become self-financing. We remain determined to be good neighbours.”

Protestor William McCallum of Bonemill Lane, Rickleton, said he was happy with most of the reassurances given by the estate.

“I remain concerned about traffic for larger events,” added Mr McCallum. “But residents understand the estate has to try and pay its way.

“We need to be sure what’s been said today is what happens.

“I’m sure the estate people are honourable, but we’ve seen others where a few years later things are happening which were never given permission for.”

Committee chairman Coun John Shiell said: “We have approved the applications as presentend.

“As a general principle, if the conditions of any licence are not followed, there can be a review, or our decision to grant a licence can be challenged in the magistrates’ court.”

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