Essex Police oppose plans for 9-hour music festival for 450 people at M25 truck stop

Plans for a nine-hour music festival for 450 off the M25 have hit a snag after Essex Police raised concerns over its safety. An application has been submitted to Epping Forest Council to hold the outdoor event at Junction 26 Diner in Waltham Forest – well known as a pit stop for hauliers and truckers along the motorway. If permission is granted, the event will feature live music, food and drink on Saturday, June 26 – during the first week where coronavirus restrictions are believed to be completely scrapped under the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

The event would run from 2pm until 11pm with food served between 4pm and 7pm. The DJ and singer will perform throughout the event. Sign up to our newsletter for all your Essex news

But the plans have been opposed by police, who have highlighted that the site was previously the venue for an illegal music event in August 2020. It was reported to police that 100 people attended the site in August last year where an illegal music event was taking place. Essex Police attended to shut down the event last year, and have highlighted their concerns over this event in a letter to Epping Forest Council.

Why are police objecting?

Within the letter, licensing officer Ronan McManus states police are objecting to the event on the grounds of crime and disorder, public nuisance and public safety.

It also highlights concerns that the site is being “used by large goods vehicles with both pedestrian and vehicles sharing the same entrance and exit point with large vehicles in close proximity with people under the influence of alcohol at night.” The force also added that as the site is situated next to junction 26 of the M25, a major and busy motorway, that there is “a real possibility” of people under the influence of alcohol making their way through the back of the site onto the motorway.

Additionally, due to the large number of people that are expected to attend – around 450 – police believe that it is an “unacceptable risk” to pedestrians, road users and the community, due to “nuisance and congestion,” as there is no parking at the site. There are also concerns over the safety of those attending the event: “The event organisers have given no consideration on how to get 450 people under the influence of alcohol safely away from the venue at 11pm,” the letter adds.

The letter notes that the final bus from the location is at 9.53pm and the nearest train stations, Cheshun and Waltham Cross and Enfield Lock are all around 6km away.

The temporary event notice, and Essex Police’s objections to it, will be considered by Epping Forest Council’s licensing sub-committee on Wednesday, April 14 in a virtual hearing.