Councillors told benefits outweigh drawbacks
More big-name music events could be on the cards at Exeter’s Sandy Park stadium as the company behind Exeter Chiefs look to increase the number of concerts on its pitch next summer.
Ronan Keating, Will Young, Rick Astley and Gabrielle were among the artists on the 2023 summer programme, and now the club wants to stage more of the same.
Some local residents, however, are urging the city council to refuse the request, citing noise, bad parking, traffic problems and drunken behaviour from concert-goers among their objections.
Club chairman and CEO Tony Rowe has applied to the city council for permission to host up to six music concerts a year for crowds of up to 15,500 people. This year four were allowed.
The city council’s planning committee is being recommended to agree the latest plans when its meets next week.
Exeter Chiefs, who are currently top of the Premiership, wants to diversify and generate extra income through the concerts. The club says lessons have been learned after the pandemic sparked financial problems for clubs such as Worcester and Wasps.
Rugby needs to diversify if it is to thrive. Concerts bring extra money and visitors into Exeter and raise the profile of the city.
A report to the planning committee says the four events last year are considered a ‘trial run’ for the latest application. If allowed, the six concerts would take place between Wednesday 1 May and Monday 15 July, avoiding school half term and summer holidays.
They would be on Saturday or Sunday evenings and amplified music would finish by 10.30pm.
The proposed events would have a reduced noise limit compared with those this year.
Planning committee members will be advised to take on board the objections, but will be told the events bring economic benefits and jobs.
The report goes on: “On balance, the benefits of the scheme are considered to outweigh any adverse impacts.”