Tayside and Central Scotland

MSP urges 'major' T in the Park public safety review

TITP tractor
Image caption Vehicles got stuck in the mud amid "challenging conditions" in the event's car parks

An MSP has written to Perth and Kinross Council urging a "major review" of T in the Park's move to Strathallan Castle.

Festival bosses apologised after a number of revellers were caught up in transport problems and delays following the event's first year at the site.

In a letter to the chief executive, Conservative MSP Liz Smith claimed "public safety was compromised".

Councillors gave permission for the annual event to be held at Strathallan for three years.

DF Concerts issued apologies for transport issues on each day of the festival, with long queues forming at pick-up and drop-off points. Police made 54 arrests, and a 36-year-old man was found dead in the toilets.

Festival director Geoff Ellis said his team would "take learnings" from the issues for subsequent years, and noted that previous events at Balado had benefitted from years of infrastructure and practice.

The festival was only given permission to move to Strathallan after a lengthy planning dispute, which included concerns from local residents about the suitability of the local road network.

Permission was given for three years, during which time councillors said the impact of the event would be monitored, to inform decisions on its long-term future.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Thousands of music fans attended the weekend-long festival at Strathallan Castle

In her letter to Bernadette Malone, Ms Smith said revellers and local residents had suffered "misery", and said there was "an urgent need to undertake a full, balanced and transparent review of the whole event and the planning process".

She said it was "abundantly clear that public safety was compromised", due to issues with pedestrian safety on nearby roads, serious traffic congestion, "the lack of adequate policing and stewarding" and poor hygiene in the toilet areas.

'Very concerned'

She said: "The volume and extent of the complaints is significant. This includes evidence provided by many loyal and long-serving T in the Parkers who said that this year was the worst experience they had endured."

"I remain very concerned that the advice of local people and those who know the area best was, on occasion, disregarded.

"It is not enough to say the problems encountered were 'teething troubles'. The extent of the complaints both by attendees and local people makes a mockery of that description."

Image copyright PA
Image caption MSP Liz Smith claims "public safety was compromised" at the festival

Event officials said a number of factors had contributed to the traffic problems, including poor weather creating "challenging ground conditions".

Manger Colin Rodger said approximately 500 people had attempted to walk three miles back to an unofficial campsite "in an unsuitable location", restricting access to pick-up points, despite festival bosses underlining that there was no pedestrian access to the site.

Mr Ellis admitted the event had "not been perfect", but said he had "never expected it to be".

He said: "Obviously with any festival that moves site, particularly one on the scale of T in the Park, you're not going to get everything right in the first year. We fully accept that.

"We know traffic queues have left some people frustrated and we apologise for this, because obviously we want the experience to be positive for everyone from start to finish.

"We'll take learnings from this year and will work on improving the times for the future.

"Overall it's been a great first year at Strathallan - the bands were brilliant, the site looked wonderful and we know that the majority of people have had a fantastic time."

Ch Supt Eddie Smith of Police Scotland said: "DF concerts has already acknowledged that there were issues with the event and has apologised for that.

"Police Scotland totally refutes that there were inadequate policing resources for the event. I will be seeking a meeting with Liz Smith to discuss what her concerns are."

Image caption Queues of traffic formed on local roads around the festival site

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites