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Kent Police objects to Spitfire Ground's bid to boost concert capacity

A bid to increase a stadium's concert capacity by 5,000 has sparked opposition from police on safety grounds.

Bosses from Canterbury's Spitfire Cricket Ground are hoping to hike the number of spectators it can host at its four annual music events from 14,999 to 19,999.

Tears for Fears' Curt Smith at The Spitfire Ground Picture: Barry Goodwin
Tears for Fears' Curt Smith at The Spitfire Ground Picture: Barry Goodwin

However, police have objected to the plans, saying the venue has not satisfied officers' concerns about the changes.

In a report sent to Canterbury City Council, PC James Gall wrote: "The applicant has not submitted any documentation that satisfies my concerns that the ground can safely accommodate the new capacity."

PC Gall added concerns could be allayed if an independent assessment into the plans was carried out "showing that the requested capacity increase is viable and will protect the public in attendance".

The Old Dover Road venue's proposals also show that it intends to continue to impose a 10.45pm curfew on the live performances, which take place between May and September.

Councillors were due to consider the application at a licensing sub-committee meeting on Tuesday. However, it was adjourned until July 21.

Kent Cricket CEO Simon Storey says he will continue to work closely with the police to secure the capacity increase
Kent Cricket CEO Simon Storey says he will continue to work closely with the police to secure the capacity increase

Committee chairman Cllr Ashley Clark suggested the delay would give the police and the ground an opportunity to iron out any concerns.

Speaking afterwards, Kent Cricket CEO Simon Storey said: "The safety and security of everyone that visits Kent Cricket is always our top priority.

"The current Covid-19 situation has already led to the cancellation of both the Westlife and Little Mix concerts that we had scheduled for July, leaving thousands of fans disappointed.

"The situation has also inevitably impacted the processes which are supporting our application for an increased capacity, although clearly this larger capacity is no longer required this summer.

"We will continue to work closely with the police and city council, following the usual licensing process, to ensure we are ready to safely host future concerts, with an increased capacity when government restrictions are lifted.”

Crowds at the Spitfire Ground for Simply Red Picture: Tony Flashman
Crowds at the Spitfire Ground for Simply Red Picture: Tony Flashman

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