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Football club promises Lionel Richie concert will go ahead despite safety certificate bid

Legendary Lionel Richie. Picture by Alan Silfen.
Legendary Lionel Richie. Picture by Alan Silfen.

Chesterfield Football Club has made an application to the county council for a safety certificate which is vital for it to host a Lionel Richie concert.

The concert, due to take place on June 21, is set to see 14,000 fans flood to the Proact Stadium.

While the stadium and the club do have a safety certificate to host large amounts of spectators, this permission is limited to football matches.

For a football match the ground has a capacity for 10,504 – which will be surpassed by almost another 4,000 with the arrival of Mr Richie, guest star Anastacia and his mass following.

Some 9,000 people will be accommodated  on the pitch.

As such, a Special Safety Certificate is required from Derbyshire County Council, which will meet on Monday, May 21 to debate the issue.

The application is recommended for approval in a report for the county council’s licensing and appeals committee.

This is subject to “satisfactory structural certification”, which would ensure the safety of the stadium’s stands, and the “completion of satisfactory fire risk assessments”.

The council is responsible for ensuring that the appropriate permissions are in place at designated sports grounds.

If approved, the safety certificate would only apply for this one-off event and further safety inspections would be required on the day along with rigorous risk assessments.

The capacity for the event, which totals 14,000, breaks down as follows: East stand, 1,900; South stand, 1,100; West stand, 2,000; pitch area, 9,000.

The report prepared for the council’s licensing and appeals committee states: “The promoters of the event have undertaken extensive risk assessments and produced an Event Safety Management Plan which has been scrutinised by the club.

“The detailed arrangements for the event have also been examined by Derbyshire Local Resilience Forum’s Events Safety Advisory Group chaired by the Emergency Planning Division which also considered related matters such as traffic management, first aid and stewarding.

“A full fire risk assessment, to include pitch and stage areas, is being prepared by the club and will be passed to the fire service to ensure it is suitable and sufficient.

“The stage and other temporary structures are to be the subject of full structural certification, both as to design and construction, by appropriately qualified personnel.

“The club has been reminded that spectator safety at the ground is ultimately the responsibility of the club, rather than the promoters of the event.

“The club will also be reminded that the Special Safety Certificate, if granted, extends to this event only and that and that any future concerts would require a further application to this committee for a safety certificate.

“There will be an inspection by the Safety Advisory Group on the morning of the event to ensure that all of the arrangements are satisfactory including checking that the required certification has been supplied.”

A spokesman for Chesterfield Football Club reassured fans that the concert would be going ahead.

He said: “It is standard procedure, it’s not a case of us going oops and applying for a safety certificate.

“And we wouldn’t risk a multi-million pound concert with a slapdash safety certificate application, it’s all in hand.”