Outdoors festival ‘will hit my pub’

Pan and Steve Addy, of the Waggon and Horses,Millhouses
Pan and Steve Addy, of the Waggon and Horses,Millhouses

A SHEFFIELD publican fears he is heading for a fall as the Cliffhanger outdoors festival arrives on his doorstep this weekend.

Takings will drop by thousands of pounds at the Waggon and Horses in Abbeydale Road South because food and drink will be available in neighbouring Millhouses Park, said Steve Addy, who has run the pub for more than four years.

In particular, he is aggrieved that he did not have the chance to apply for the licence to operate two beer tents in the park.

“It would have been very easy for us. We could have run lines from the pub’s cellar into the park but we didn’t know about it.”

The pub is a council-owned building, yet the authority was hampering his attempts to make a living and to maintain the premises, said Mr Addy.

The council said there was no intention to harm Mr Addy’s business but catering and bars at Cliffhanger were in the hands of an operator who was also responsible for camping, music and a bar at the Limb Lane campsite, which was being used for the festival.

Last year more than 20,000 people attended the festival, which is described as the UK’s biggest outdoor event for outdoor people, attracting climbers, mountain bikers, runners and cavers as well as members of the public. Organised by the council and Heason Events, it returns on Saturday and Sunday.

Mr Addy said: “We are in the centre of the park, the building is owned by the council and the council has given an independent operator the right to sell beer 50 yards from our front door. Nobody asked us if we would like to do it. It’s not right.”

The pub depended on business during the summer to help compensate for the winter, and the economic downturn was taking its toll, yet there was the prospect of losing thousands of pounds over the Cliffhanger weekend.

Each year the Waggon and Horses had lost money on food sales, now it would be hit by the beer tents. “We have turned this pub into a nice family-friendly pub. All I want is a fair crack of the whip.”

Mr Addy also fears that some of the trade he may get as a result of Cliffhanger may be people who have had too much to drink when the festival closes at 6pm.

Paul Billington, the council’s director of environment and culture, said: “The Cliffhanger event is both hugely popular with the people of Sheffield and has strong support from the local community and parks users. We are therefore sorry to hear about Mr Addy’s concerns.

“I can assure him that if he feels the event, which brings 20,000 extra people into the park over the weekend, has an adverse impact on his business, then that is certainly not the intention. In fact we would hope that such a surge in footfall and Mr Addy’s business being by one of the main entrances would provide extra business over the coming weekend.

“It’s also important to note that most major parks events operate catering and bar operations and these are increasingly seen as a core expectation of visitors.

“The council does ensure however that all such operations are run safely and, in the case of Cliffhanger, the bar will close at around 6pm. The success of the bar operation will be monitored this year prior to any decisions taken about next year’s event.

“There is a camping event that is linked to Cliffhanger based at the Limb Lane picnic site. This is an integrated event that includes camping, music and bar provision and the operator was sourced via a market-testing process of appropriately experienced event management operators.

“We propose to run an integrated music/bar service on the main event site, which inevitably led us to extend the contract of the successful Limb Lane operator.

“If the trial bar/music service at Cliffhanger is successful this year, then the council may look to repeat the offer and extend the invitation to a wider group of potential suitably qualified operators.

“Again, this may lead us to require an operator who can deliver a wider integrated package of camping, bar and music. Mr Addy may be interested in this opportunity at the time and we will ensure that he is made aware of any such opportunity.”

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