Dates set for six-day Overton religious festival which could pull in thousands

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A controversial event which could attract up to 5,000 people to Overton will last for six days.

The Light and Life religious festival will run from Saturday, July 26 to Thursday, July 31 in the tiny village, it has been confirmed.

Light and Life will be mainly attended by members of the gypsy and traveller community.

Villagers fear that Overton won’t cope with such huge numbers of people and volumes of traffic.

Residents were also angry after Lancaster City Council originally said it had “no role to play” in the festival.

But the council has now assigned an officer to help Overton Parish Council deal with any issues.

David Morris MP is also putting together a Parliamentary motion in support of residents. The festival will be legally held in a field 
bordering Lancaster Road, Kevin Grove and Overton St Helen’s School.

Setting up of the event, organised by the Light and Life Church, will begin on Friday, July 25.

Last year’s Light and Life event in Somerset attracted 3,000 people and 700 caravans. Other similar festivals have pulled in 2,000 to 5,000.

Mark Davies, chief officer (environment) at Lancaster City Council, said: “Clearly feelings are running high within Overton and I sympathise that residents have concerns about the event.

“However, it must be remembered that the city council does not directly have the powers available to prevent the festival going ahead.

“The event is privately organised and is taking place on private land and the city council does not have the powers to move the venue. We understand that the parish council is taking this up with their MP.

“Clearly with any event there will be wider issues created which are then dealt with by the authority that has the relevant powers.

“Highways, for instance, are being dealt with by Lancashire County Council and public order is the responsibility of the police.

“In relation to issues which may relate directly to the city council a senior officer is acting as liaison with the parish council to respond to any city council-related issues the Parish Council has.

“Litter is one of these issues. As with any event we expect the event organisers to deal with this and we have made that clear to them.

“We will, however, be monitoring the situation and deal with the litter that is left on public land.

“While residents may find it frustrating that they have to deal with several different agencies, we each can only deal with the issues for which we are responsible and where we have the legal powers available to us.”

An information day for anyone with concerns or questions about the festival will be held at Overton Memorial Hall on Saturday, July 12 from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

All welcome.