Representatives from Devon and Cornwall Police, Cornwall Council and a residents’ group have all raised noise and safety concerns about plans to hold the popular Masked Ball dance event at a new venue in the Duchy.

Organisers of the Spring Ball, which was last held in 2019 on the cliffs at Beacon Crag, Porthleven, have applied for a premises licence to hold the event on the former golf course at the Killiow Estate, near Playing Place on the outskirts of Truro.

The masked dance party would see up to 3,500 people in attendance, including staff, at a festival-like dance celebration featuring a range of DJs and live acts. The organisers’ sister event, the Halloween Masked Ball, has become a tried and tested annual success at the Flambards attraction in Helston.

A Cornwall Council licensing committee will decide if Killiow is the right venue for the return of the Masked Ball at a meeting on Wednesday, March 6. The event would be held over four days on the first weekend of May. The decision is being made by committee because of a number of concerns raised by residents and local authorities.

After meeting with residents of the estate, the Masked Ball organisers have reduced the hours for the event and said its security team would monitor residences near the site and provide staff to manage traffic flow on the A39, the busy Truro to Falmouth road which partygoers will have to use to access the ball.

A Cornwall Council environmental protection officer has stated that Killiow is not a suitable location for the proposed event due to the proximity of numerous residential properties.

In a report to the council, he stated: “Community Protection is concerned that, due to the size of the event, its proposed duration, the likely genre of music to be played, the quiet rural character of the area and its proximity to noise sensitive premises it cannot adequately promote the prevention of public nuisance objective in the proposed location.

“Our major concern is that this event will have a significant detrimental effect on nearby residential properties because there are a lot in close proximity to the proposed location of the festival. There are numerous properties in Playing Place, Kea and particularly on the Killiow Estate land close to the proposed location of the event. The noise management plan has recommended noise limits but we do not agree that these will adequately protect the closest neighbours to the event location.

“At some locations surrounding this proposed event there will be very little respite from the noise, even within the proposed noise limits, in our professional opinion and experience.”

Devon and Cornwall Police have also objected to the licence, with a spokesperson stating: “It is our opinion that this is the wrong location for such an event.” Mentioning the A39 being frequently congested in spring and summer, she added: “Bringing this number of vehicles/people to the site will add to this congestion. Should a road traffic accident occur, either from the Truro or Falmouth side, the roads may become totally gridlocked impeding the access and egress of the emergency services.” The police also raised concerns about the impact of noise on nearby residents.

Home Farm Estate Residents’ Association, which includes people living at Killiow, has also objected to the event taking place.

In a letter to the council’s licensing department, a number of members of the community group aired their concerns about ball-goers wandering on to their properties. “This is already creating considerable anxiety about how safe we will be, especially given the age profile of our residents, with the majority being over 70. How will we be protected and supported, particularly in the small hours?”

They are also concerned about possible damage to woodland on the site, the close proximity to the A39 and, above all, the effects of noise.

The experienced team behind the Masked Ball stated they would ensure 24-hour security will patrol the main event area, car parks and campsite throughout the event. An event safety management plan would be issued before the event and a medical plan would be issued and discussed with a NHS contingency planning team.

They have told the licensing department that their traffic management plan has been authored by a retired senior traffic officer “with the utmost confidence that this will not be an issue”.

A spokesperson for the Masked Ball added: “By way of comparison, our Halloween Masked Ball event sees a considerable number more attendees arrive in a considerably shorter time frame via very similar road infrastructure. We have successfully managed this for a decade without issue.”

Since meeting residents and lodging the licence application, the organisers have agreed to reduce the licensed hours for both music and sale of alcohol on Saturday, May 4 from 4am to midnight for the first year of the event, “to be reviewed post event for future years with consideration to the successful delivery of the event”.

They have also agreed to reduce noise levels between 11pm and midnight in line with guidance from the Environmental Health Office, and to offer a dedicated security team to monitor on-site residences at all times while the general public are on site.

They have also offered to provide traffic enforcement personnel to manage flow of traffic at the site entrance – the A39 double mini-roundabout – and to prevent access to the site’s back entrance to ball-goers.