East Lancs food and drink event gets go-ahead after landlord pays ‘mickey-take’ fee

Blackburn Citizen: Landlord John Hodgkiss outside the Old England Forever with the council warning letter he received after his previous  successful festival Landlord John Hodgkiss outside the Old England Forever with the council warning letter he received after his previous successful festival

A MUSIC, food and drink festival is set to go ahead this year despite organisers being rapped by the council the last time it was held.

The event in Barnes Square, Clayton-le-Moors, had been hailed a succes last year after it boosted businesses and brought in £500 for charity.

But organiser John Hodgkiss, from the Old England Forever pub, received a warning letter from Hyndburn Council saying it was unlicensed and that he would be prosecuted if he did it again.

The landlord had previously been asked to speak at a planning meeting about how much of a success the festival, which saw Barnes Square closed off, had been.

Mr Hodgkiss, 66, said he would not let last year’s warning stop him from running the bank holiday event again this year.

He said: “This year I have gone through all the proper channels. I have filled in the necessary 22 sides of A4 and paid my fee of £21. I think it is just a mickey-take but at least now I have my permission to do it.”

The festival, which will feature local musicians playing in the grounds of the now-closed Barnes Square Methodist Church, will take place on May 24 and 25 from 10am to 6pm each day.

There will be food and drink stalls outside the pub, which will not mean the square will have to be closed off.

Proceeds will be donated to the East Lancashire Hospice and Derian House.

Grandfather-of-five Mr Hodgkiss said: “I am hoping for exactly the same reaction from the locals as we had last year.

“The people I have spoken to are all really looking forward to it and they have all said how fantastic it was last year.”

Clayton-le-Moors councillor Tim O’Kane said: “If Mr Hodgkiss has done as he said, there should not be a problem.

“Nobody wants to be a killjoy at these things and we could do with a bit of light relief in these times of austerity.

“I wish him good luck, hope the weather stays well for him and that local people do enjoy it.

“Hopefully he will raise lots of money for the charities.”

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