A local production company that brings numerous shows to the Wantage and Grove area every year has had to relinquish use of its main venue due to the council imposing a new event limit.

JT Stage Productions has been offered a maximum of seven dates to host events at Old Mill Hall in Grove by Grove Parish Council.

But its director George Jackson has argued this makes it “unviable” to continue running its Live & Local event series.

The most recent Live & Local event took place at the hall on Saturday evening (February 24), where a sell-out crown enjoyed a performance from Ska revival band Badness.

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Mr Jackson said he was initially told seven dates were available when he approached the council asking to host up to 16 for 2024.

This year's events included 10 tribute band evenings, four local band events and beer and music festivals.

He added: “Questioning this, we were then informed that additional dates were available, but it was at the discretion of the parish clerk whether we are allowed these.”

Points raised by parish council explaining a reduction in the number of dates offered included: availability of the venue for other potential bookings, suitability of the function for the venue, long term damage and complaints from local residents.

Mr Jackson has since rebutted every point advanced attempting to justify the reduction with a counter argument and supporting evidence.

Parish clerk Graham Mundy said: “Old Mill Hall is parish council owned and is a community venue. 

“I argued that as such, it is used it is for meetings, sports clubs, parish council offices, jumble sales and wedding receptions. It is also an accredited Kennel Club venue.

“It is not a dedicated music venue/nightclub and should not be considered as such. Seven was the number of available dates at the time, plus dates I wanted to hold over for other bookings to be used for by local community and charity groups.

“At the meeting, the council agreed with me that as the parish clerk, I was responsible for the management of the hall including bookings.

“Whilst the council has received some complaints from residents, I have attended several of the Live & Local events. They are always very well managed by George Jackson and his team and they are usually trouble free.

“The parish council nor I can be held responsible for any loss to his business.”

Mr Jackson confirmed Saturday’s event would be the last “for the foreseeable future” and said: “We are currently in negotiations with another local venue so we are hopeful we can continue to bring lots more great live music to the residents of Wantage and Grove.

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"Stay tuned for our next adventures."

Live & Local was formed in 2021 to bring a diverse programme of live music and events to the local community at Old Mill Hall.

JT Stage Productions has also supported charity events at the Old Mill Hall and events such as the Wantage Carnival, Grove and Wantage Extravaganza, Childrey Fest and the Grove Car Show.