Home Kent News St Clere Estate: Anger over traffic mayhem at ‘chaotic’ festival in Sevenoaks

St Clere Estate: Anger over traffic mayhem at ‘chaotic’ festival in Sevenoaks

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Original article from Kent Live

A Sevenoaks music festival held on the beautiful St Clere Estate has been branded chaotic after people living nearby claimed they were left stuck in their cars for hours as they tried to get home.

One mother described how another driver had tried to ram her car as she drove her autistic son back to Kemsing – a journey that took more than two hours.

Sonia Settlefield said it had been very stressful as she had tried to reason with staff outside the Matt BBQ festival only to be told it was "not their mess".

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Dozens of people took to social media to describe scenes of traffic mayhem with cars parked on verges along the A20, across the Wrotham roundabout and along narrow lanes, blocking the highway to passing motorists.

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Police said a woman had also been arrested on suspicion of assault following an alleged 'road rage' attack outside the festival grounds, in which another woman was hit with a bottle.

A spokesman said the 29-year-old had been released pending further investigations into the incident.

Historic St Clere estate

Anger at the event erupted after estate owner Eliza Ecclestone took to social media to challenge a "small group" of critics whom she said had been against the festival from the start.

Later Mrs Ecclestone told KentLive's sister paper the Sevenoaks Chronicle she had been "shocked" by the alleged assault and by traffic build-up this had caused.

Eliza Ecclestone, Managing Trustee of St Clere Estate

She added: "Some of the ticket holders abandoned their vehicles to walk onto the site and there was some antisocial behaviour in the area.

"None of this is what we wanted at all, we spend our lives working hard to look after the area and we take any disruption to our neighbours very seriously.

"We take some comfort from the fact the event itself ran without difficulties on site and many locals have said they attended and enjoyed it, and that it was well run.

"Additionally there were no concerns expressed by environmental health who were monitoring noise levels, nor the police who were content with the management of the event.

"As with any event, the trustees will review how it went with the license holders and concerns raised will be factored into future plans."

The festival also had its supporters with many claiming the event itself was well organised and enjoyable and the alleged assault beyond organisers' control.

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council said it had received 16 complaints about the festival, seven of which were relating to traffic and nine concerning noise.

Police said officers were called to assist with traffic congestion along the London Road area of Wrotham for around three hours from 3.30pm.

Original Article