The organisers of an Oktoberfest event in Lichfield say they have been forced to cancel the event.
It had been due to take place from 14th to 16th October, but Cocker Hoop Creative which runs the event said it had been refused a licence by Lichfield District Council.
In a statement, they said they were disappointed to have to pull the plug the event at such short notice.
“Following Lichfield District Council’s licensing department receiving three objections for the forthcoming Oktoberfest – including one from a member of their own team – about noise levels, the council have decided to refuse us the required licence.
“This news for us is devastating, especially as it is not the first time the event has run.
“Not being allowed a premises licence means we can have a lovely marquee up, we can put benches out, set up a stage and lighting but we are not allowed to sell any alcoholic drinks or have any bands entertain people – this isn’t a Lichfield Oktoberfest in our eyes.
“At every point we have answered every question raised by the objectors, employed industry experts in noise consultancy and licensing specialists. We have even offered to meet with the objectors to discuss the measures we have in place and show that the event would be well managed.
“We understand that people have the divine right to object but to not want to listen, reply to emails and refuse to meet, we struggle to understand.
“To derail hard work that has been carried out by everyone connected and to remove much-needed income after the Covid pandemic is unacceptable.”Cocker Hoop Creative spokesperson
The company – which also organises events such as the Ibiza Proms and Lichfield Food Festival – said it was likely to take a significant financial hit due to the cancellation.
“The team are truly broken by this decision, as are the local breweries and businesses affected – this would have generated in excess of £45,000 worth of much-needed revenue for them.
“As a local event business still operating in uncertain times, we feel we need to express our disappointment at various departments and will be consulting with the Local Government Ombudsman.
“We have already paid tens of thousands of pounds out for this weekend to contractors with no prospect of refunds as business now require 100% payment up front due to Covid.
“For us, that is crippling.”Cocker Hoop Creative spokesperson
Ticket holders have been told they will be given the option to get a refund or have their ticket carry over to the 2022 event.
The company said it had already sourced an alternative location to ensure the event can take place next year.
“After much discussion we have agreed in 2022 to put the Oktoberfest on at the sports club on Eastern Avenue.
“We would ask people to understand the predicament we have found ourselves in and support us as we move forward from this turbulent time.”Cocker Hoop Creative spokesperson
Gareth Davies, head of regulatory services, housing and wellbeing at Lichfield District Council, denied that the local authority had forced the cancellation of the event.
“We have not refused the application for Lichfield Oktoberfest.
“As a result of objections raised during the 28-day consultation period for this event, we are legally required to hold a hearing of the Licensing and Consents Appeals Committee to consider the objections, and must give ten days’ notice of this hearing.
“We advise event organisers to allow at least three months when making an application to allow for any objections to be properly heard and resolved under these prescribed timescales.
“As we received the event licence application so late, there is now not enough time to give the required ten days’ notice of a hearing before Oktoberfest was due to take place.
“We understand ticket holders will be disappointed and share their frustrations that this event has had to be cancelled by the organiser.”Gareth Davies, Lichfield District Council