Murrayfield residents not allowed to object to Madonna concert

Madonna is heading to Murrayfield on July 21
Madonna is heading to Murrayfield on July 21
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Murrayfield residents have been left fuming after being told they were not allowed to object to Madonna’s landmark concert this summer.

It is has emerged a council officer wrongly told a representative of residents that they could not object to alcohol sales at the July 21 gig.

By the time the mistake was rectified, the window for objections had closed and officials would not accept late bids.

To make matters worse, councillors yesterday voted not use a special dispensation to hear the objections.

Murrayfield councillor Jeremy Balfour, whose motion to consider the protests was voted down by his fellow councillors, said: “Local residents have been put into an unfair position and the board should take into consideration the objections.”

He added: “The impression was put across that everything was fine when there are significant concerns about the level of alcohol taken before and after these events.”

Drink-fuelled disruption after Murrayfield concerts has long been an issue. The Kings of Leon gig last June saw revellers accused of antisocial behaviour after drinking throughout the day, while the Oasis gig in June 2009 was marred by violence which began before the band even took to the stage.

Following that, the Scottish Rugby Union – which owns Murrayfield – was told that it would have to apply for a “variation” licence every time it wished to hold a concert, with residents being able to object and each event dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

The crowd is expected to be a different demographic from rowdy rock fans, but residents say there is an antisocial element in any mass crowd.

Dr Hamish Ross, chair of the Murrayfield Community Council, said his group did not try to raise a formal objection, but said the protests should have been considered.

He said: “It’s obviously frustrating that residents have been told something incorrect, that they can’t be involved in the process when they can.”

He said the SRU selling alcohol in the grounds of Murrayfield was not a problem, but that uncontrolled consumption around the stadium was.

Nick Fraser depute clerk of the licensing board, told councillors that the problem with the late objections had been caused because the officer involved dealt with public entertainment licences rather than alcohol.

He said: “That officer wasn’t aware of the relevant procedures.”

He added that councillors could still consider late objections, which they declined to do.

PROBLEMS

Kings of Leon, June 2011: They delivered a blistering set in front of more than 60,000, but heavy drinking, antisocial behaviour, and public urination on the part of fans sullied the event.

Bon Jovi, June 2011: A dull, drizzly evening didn’t stop the US rockers thrilling fans, with little or no trouble reported across the board.

Oasis, June 2009: The concert was a huge hit but was marred by violence within the stadium, including in one instance where a reveller was savagely beaten by five men.