Reading’s Winter Wonderland will be going ahead despite the protests of some neighbours.

The town’s Winter Wonderland, in Hills Meadow, Caversham, is centred around an ice rink but also features rides and attractions, food, Christmas stalls and a Santas’ Grotto.

But in order for it to take place, its operators Premier Winter Wonderland Events needed approval from Reading Borough Council’s licensing applications sub committee during a meeting held today (Tuesday, November 9).

The event received objections from neighbours and the Caversham and District and Residents District Association.

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Blandy & Blandy solicitor Sue Dowling representing the applicant, argued the Winter Wonderland “went ahead very well, very professionally” last time around in 2019.

But Krys Jankowski, who lives on the opposite side of the river, and Helen Lambert chairwoman of the Caversham and District and Residents District Association, expressed frustration about continued events taking place in Hills Meadow, which also hosted Reading Oktoberfest this year.

The Winter Wonderland event previously took place in Forbury Gardens.

It will serve drinks and play recorded music from 11am to 10pm for 53 days from November 12 to January 3 (excluding Christmas Day).

Ms Dowling was eager to draw a contrast between Winter Wonderland and Oktoberfest.

She said: “This is a festive event for everyone. They can go down to the event and not spend a penny.

“This is not an alcohol-led event.

“There is a small bar area which is defined and properly controlled. You would not come to this event for alcohol. The complete opposite to Oktoberfest.

“This is not a ‘wet’ event.”

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But serious concerns were raised about noise coming from the event.

Ms Jankowski said: "I do remain concerned. There will undoubtedly be noise from the activity itself. On ice skating rinks, there's shrieking, there's falling over, there's children crying, there's blades on ice, there are generators, there is general chatter. 

"My concern is that, with the noise of the activity, plus background music, plus the vocal exertion required to be heard above that once culminated with generators, we could have a significant level of noise coming from the site."

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She also expressed worries about littering being generated by Winter Wonderland guests.

Replying to her concern, Premier Winter Wonderland Events  owner Billy Williams said:  “Hills Meadow will be cleaner than when we left. It will be made better.

“99.9 per cent of the food provided is consumed on the site.”

The committee, made up of chairwoman Councillor Debs Edwards (Labour, Southcote), Cllr Paul Woodward (Labour, Church) and Cllr Jenny Rynn (Conservative, Kentwood) chose not to impose any extra conditions or limit the time and dates the event runs from.

It means Winter Wonderland will start this Saturday.

Mr Williams said it has been moved from Forbury Gardens to Hills Meadow out of respect for the terror attack victims, and Hills Meadow provides the event with more operating space.

An earlier version of this article contained incorrect address details, these have since been changed alonside a comment which has been changed for clarity. We apologise for any confusion caused.