Planning Ahead - The Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival could become a permanent fixture, if plans are backed. Festival organisers currently have rolling temporary planning permission but want it to become permanent. It would mean that as well as the festival, it would allow use of the land, on the Somerset site, throughout the year for parties and camping. But local residents are concerned it would change the land from a working farm to a festival and camping site.
The permission would also allow the "permanent regularisation" of the Pyramid Stage, along with a building currently used for storage and recycling, and the allocation of land to accommodate the temporary festival workforce. According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), the festival would still be subject to its official licence. So even if planning permission were granted, it would still need to comply with the likes of an agreed capacity and a limit on noise.
A spokesman for Planning Sphere, representing Glastonbury Festival Events Ltd (GFEL), said: "The grant of planning permission will provide certainty and secure the future of the largest music festival in Europe.
Cultural Policy - The Conservative Party has confirmed its commitment to devolving cultural policy and spending powers to regional leaders across England. Secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove reaffirmed the plans when speaking at the Convention of the North on 25 January.
The plans to devolve more governance powers to local leaders were first mentioned in the government’s ‘levelling up’ white paper, published in February 2022. Labour has said on multiple occasions it is committed to devolving cultural policymaking powers, with Keir Starmer highlighting the party’s intention in his new year speech.
Culture Commons, an organisation that supports the creative sectors to drive political change, said it was clear that devolution was a key part of the election narrative across the two main political parties. Speaking at the convention, Gove said: "The levelling-up white paper outlined powers we also plan to devolve, which extend far beyond those directly within the control of my department. Which is why we are also looking to devolve more control over further and technical education, transport, trade, culture and employment support."
Gove also referenced the importance of quality of life within communities, adding: "That’s why we’re increasing funding through Arts Council England to culture outside London, and it’s also why we are strengthening our new Community Ownership Fund, which enables local people to take back control of assets that have been degraded by others."
Big Weekend - Radio 1's Big Weekend is heading to Dundee, with sets from The 1975, Lewis Capaldi and RAYE. The three-day festival will pitch up at Camperdown Park on 26-28 May, with 80,000 fans expected to attend. It was supposed to happen in the Scottish city in 2020 - but was cancelled due to the pandemic. Also appearing will be Niall Horan, Arlo Parks and Anne-Marie, with more acts set to be announced. "This is an incredible opportunity for Dundee and we are looking forward to hosting such an exciting event at Camperdown Park after the disappointment of 2020's cancellation," John Alexander, Dundee City Council leader, says.
Farewell - Barrett Strong, a pivotal figure in the history of Motown Records, has died at the age of 81. He sang the label's first major hit, Money (That's What I Want), in 1959, and went on to co-write classic songs like I Heard It Through the Grapevine, War and Papa Was a Rollin' Stone. Those hits were "revolutionary in sound and captured the spirit of the times", Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a written tribute to the musician. RIP.
(Jim Evans)
31 January 2023

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