Reading Pride’s capacity is set to remain the same this year, after concerns were raised that security at an expanded event would not be adequate.

The festival wanted to increase its capacity incrementally from 5,000 to 9,999 people over the next three years, although its initial application had simply asked to double it.

The organisers failed to agree with the police and council the number of security officers needed per attendee.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) licensing committee rejected the licence variation, deciding security preparation was not adequate, but called for the organisers to reconsider and reapply.

Councillor Paul Woodward, chair of the licensing committee, said: “This committee is very much a supporter of Reading Pride.

“We want to see it grow and flourish. We take on all your points about how there is no trouble at Reading Pride but we had to make a decision primarily about public safety.”

Formed in 2003 to represent and support the local LGBT+ community, Reading Pride takes place on August 31 this year on Kings Meadow.

All sides agreed there were no major issues with crime at Pride but the sticking point was the police’s insistence on one security guard for every hundred attendees, which Reading Pride said they could not afford.

The organisers insisted the event could manage with one per 200 but Thames Valley Police (TVP) officer Declan Smyth said one per 100 is an industry standard.

Mr Smyth said he would only accept nonconformity with this if agreed by the Safety Advisory Group (SAG).

He added: “We support the event and always will do.

“The rationale is for the safety of everyone concerned. 50 security officers would not be able to manage 10,000 people.

“There are still areas that need addressing and that can be done at SAG.

“Getting to 9,999 is not an impossible task. I think it is achievable. We would like you to expand but in the right way.”

The committee asked the organisers to meet with SAG, talk to TVP and resubmit an application at a later stage.

SAG is made up of officers from authorities such as the council, fire service and police and advises on how to hold a safe event.

Martin Cooper, Reading Pride CEO, said: “It is obviously a disappointing outcome, but it is also a learning opportunity.”

Councillor Sophia James, lead member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, spoke in favour of the application, ‘with her Pride hat on’.

She said she was ‘heartened’ by the committee’s support for the event and the organisers would take on its feedback.

She added: “This is a positive event for the community. We are making great efforts to make sure everyone is safe at our events.”

The organisers were also planning a new 18+ stage, featuring some unsuitable language for under 18s but no nudity, but said it was not ready.