Isle of Wight council Strategic Director, Stuart Love, will be presenting a report to the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel on 26th November.
His report sets out the reasons for the disruption caused during the Thursday and Friday of this year’s Isle of Wight Festival, as well as the “actions that will be taken to ensure that there is not a repeat of this level of disruption in the future”.
Car parks inaccessible
As readers will remember, bad ground conditions (due to heavy rain) at the entrance to the festival car park resulted in huge delays for festival-goers arriving by car being able to get off the highway.
Mr Love’s report states that,
“It has become clear that, on Thursday 22 June, inaccurate information was being provided to the Council, Police and Ferry companies as to the rate at which vehicles were entering the car parks.
“This led to Ferries continuing to be loaded and delayed the decision to implement alternative car parking and traffic management arrangements.”
Sourcing contingency car parks was “reactive and largely unplanned”
As far as the contingency arrangements stood, the report states that these were mainly focused on bringing the existing car parks back into use.
By the time it became apparent that the additional tracking and gravel were having little effect there was already significant disruption on the road network.
The event organiser then contacted numerous private landowners with large areas of hard standing to negotiate the use of these for Festival parking.
This was done on a reactive and largely unplanned basis which resulted in some abortive deals being negotiated where agreement was reached by the event organisers with the landowner, only for the Council, Police and bus company to veto the plan on operational grounds.
Event Safety Operational Plan
As readers will remember, On The Wight broke the news that a condition of the licence to have the Event Safety Operational Plan signed off by the licensing authority prior to the event failed to happen.
The report states,
… one of the conditions of the Isle of Wight Festival licence is a requirement for the licencing authority to sign off the Event Safety Operational Plan. This requirement was introduced in 2011, however the ESOP has not previously been signed off by the licensing authority.
If you were hoping Mr Love’s report will explain why the ESOP wasn’t signed off, he gives this explanation,
“There is also currently no definition of what constitutes the licensing authority and there is no provision within the Council’s scheme of delegations that identifies where responsibility for signing the ESOP resides.”
Impact on residents and businesses
The report acknowledges the impact the congestion had on residents and businesses, citing delays to school buses, missed hospitals appointments, etc.
It also outlines what action will be taken to ensure the chaos that occurred is not repeated at future festivals.
Indeed, the traffic plan used for Bestival, a few (drier) months later, worked very well, with minimal impact on non-festival traffic.
For those interested in reading the full report, it’s embedded below for your convenience.