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BBC responds in Big Weekend ticket row

The main tent ahead of the big event at Mote Park this weekend. Picture: Matthew Walker
The main tent ahead of the big event at Mote Park this weekend. Picture: Matthew Walker

Radio 1 has supplied details of the number of tickets allocated to postcodes in and around Maidstone for the upcoming Big Weekend.

The BBC responded to angry claims by scores of disgruntled Maidstone residents who failed to get free tickets to the two-day music extravaganza at Mote Park and claimed the allocation had been wrongly weighted to favour ME postcodes in Medway.

A BBC spokesman said: "It is not true that Radio 1 mistakenly assumed ME1 and ME2 were central Maidstone postcodes. Neither postcode was in the central zone for allocation.

"The highest number of tickets given to any one postcode was 3,042 to ME15, followed by 2,298 to ME 14 and 1,710 to ME16, a total of 7,050 tickets.

A total of 45 per cent - around 15,300 - of the free tickets went to those with postcodes covered by Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) itself, according to the BBC. The other tickets were split between the other Maidstone postcodes.

The council's revenues department supplied a list of postcodes the authority covered to ensure all those paying council tax in the Maidstone area had the greatest chance of obtaining a ticket.

The main postcodes given were ME14, ME15, ME16 and ME 17. A number of ME5, ME9, ME18, TN12 and TN27 postcodes also fall under Maidstone borough council, as well a few in ME4, ME7, ME13, ME19, ME20, TN9, TN15 and TN17.

Kent Online is still waiting for figures on how many tickets in total were allocated to these postcodes and expects a response from the BBC soon.

The spokesman added: "Everyone in this zone had the same chance of being allocated a ticket - around one in 16 on Saturday and one in nine on Sunday."

Outside of the central MBC zone, another 40 per cent of the tickets went to the surrounding areas of Kent, including:

~ 3,868 to other Medway postcodes not covered above;~ 4,006 to all other Tunbridge Wells postcodes not covered above (including some to those in parts of East Sussex);
~ 1,568 to Dartford postcodes;~ 466 to those with Bromley postcodes;
~ 172 to those with Croydon postcodes.

Finally, 10 per cent went to postcodes bordering Kent, including parts of Sussex, Surrey, Essex and London, and the remaining five per cent went to other areas in the UK.

The BBC spokesman reiterated that 34,000 tickets were given away for the Big Weekend, but that more than 518,000 people around the UK had registered.

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