Local people have expressed mixed reactions to the announcement of a music festival to be held at Cofton Park this summer.

The Fusion Festival will see international pop stars inckuding Jessie J and JLS perform at the Longbridge park over two days from August 31st.

Comments on our Facebook page, twitter and website have been varied, from those excited to have such a big event on their doorstep to those concerned about parking, noise, damage to the park and so on.

Longbridge Councillor Ian Cruise said: “It’s great to see Cofton Park used again as a concert venue but we have to be mindful of those who live in the area, both sides of the Birmingham/Worcestershire border. There will of course be disruption locally but hopefully this will be kept to a minimum. I understand our Labour ward chairman Cllr Cartwright will be meeting the organisers to discuss potential disruption to lives of local residents.

Cllr Cruise added: “The concert does however give a chance for Longbridge redevelopment to showcase itself and potentially draw people back into the area once the town centre is completed. This can only be good for the local economy and for local businesses at a time when the area really needs a boost.”

In support of the event, local resident Sarah Simmonds said: “I think Fusion Festival will be good for the local area. It has been a long time since the park was used for something like this. My fiancé and I are keen festival goers and have always thought it was a shame that the space is not being used for such events.

“We used to live opposite the park when the pope came and although it was annoying that you had to go to the long way around, residents were given plenty of notice so you could plan around the event. I would like to think that the organisers will think of the local residents and maybe offer them discounted tickets and provide plenty of information regarding the event, parking and road closures (if any). Although the acts are probably not who we would want to see, I feel that this will be a fantastic event and I hope this will be the first of many at Cofton Park.”

However, there are concerns from some quarters, with some of those living close to the park or using it on a regular basis concerned about the noise and disruption.

Lee Hartford is the secretary of Thurlestone FC, a football team that uses the Cofton Park pitches and has mixed feelings about the event: “I feel the Fusion Festival will be a good thing for the area, but it also annoys me that the council or event organisers will do nothing to protect the football pitches for the local teams … we have used the park for many years, but since 2009 we have used the pitches for one season. This is due to the 50th anniversary of the Mini, the Pope’s visit and this season we have been forced to play away from Cofton due to apparent pitch refurb. I have lived in Longbridge since birth and use to enjoy going to Cofton Park for bonfire night every year, but I remember the pitches been cordoned off for this event.”

Lee tweeted his concerns to us and the @fusionfest twitter account was quick to reassure, saying that special measures are being taken to protect those areas.

Longbridge Cllr Andy Cartwright and Northfield District Chair Cllr Peter Griffiths have spoken with organisers of the event and been given reassurances regarding how they will deal with any disruption. Cllr Cartwright said that this was a trial of such an event at Cofton and that he has made organisers aware of expectations and residents concerns.

A spokesman for Fusion Festival said: “…we are determined to be family and community friendly and details of that will be revealed over the next few weeks. We have been kept well informed by community leaders and representatives of your concerns and we are doing all we can to address those.”

Organisers are aware of parking concerns: “Parking is an issue that has been raised a number of times and we are attempting to create as much pre arranged parking as possible and are getting terrific assistance from many local businesses and companies. Further we will be encouraging the use of public transport as much as possible.”

They also offer reassurances about how the park will be affected: “For those who have raised concerns about the damage to the infrastructure of the park and the playing surfaces every possible care will be taken. Much of the area especially that for vehicular access will be specifically tracked ensuring a minimum of wear and tear and we will be working closely with Birmingham City Council to ensure the ‘safe’ return of the park to the community.”

“As the Fusion Festival is here for the long term and we want to return in future years to a happy community that has experienced a great music event, showing first class support for the Prince’s Trust with a minimum of disruption and ultimately enhancing the name of Longbridge and the area in the nation’s eyes.” the spokesman said.

SPECIAL OFFER:

Fusion Festival have just announced a special offer for all residents of the B31 and B45 postcodes. People living in those areas will be able to apply for up to four tickets per household, at a special price of £17.50 for a single day ticket or £30 for a two-day ticket, with a booking fee of £2.50 per order. The offer is limited to one application per household. There are two ways to apply – email info@thefusionfestival.co.uk, or call 0207 751 2705 during office hours and leave your details.

PLEASE NOTE: this half price ticket offer is limited to 1000 tickets on a first come first served basis
Closing date for applications is Friday 3rd May.

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