Town may be forced to cancel its annual fireworks display as it is too popular (From The Northern Echo)
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Newton Aycliffe's annual fireworks display faces axe
A TOWN may be forced to cancel its bonfire night celebrations – because its fireworks display is proving just too popular.
As a result, organisers say they are unable to manage the event safely.
An extraordinary meeting of Great Aycliffe Town Council has been called for Thursday, August 29, at which members are being recommended to axe the fireworks display.
The move comes after meetings between town councillors and the County Durham Safety Advisory Group failed to resolve a number of issues relating to the running the display.
Labour group leader Councillor Bob Fleming, chairman of the policy and resources committee, said there were simply too many problems to overcome.
“We are no longer a fireworks display for the town - it's an area display,” he said.
“We were getting about 5,000 people coming without any problems. Last year the estimate was 12,000 to 15,000 people.
“We can't cope with the numbers, we are victim of our own success.”
Coun Fleming said not knowing in advance how many people were likely to attend added to the difficulty in organisin the display.
“Everyone who comes does so 20 minutes before and then leaves at the same time,” he said.
“The access and exit points are very limited and with people coming from out of town, there are parking issues.”
The display has been held at the Oakleaf Leisure Centre for the past 30 years and Coun Fleming said the search for an alternative suitable venue had proved fruitless.
In a report to councillors, leisure manager Judith Threxton said: “As a number of issues are still not satisfactorily resolved, officers are unable to recommend that the event should proceed.
“However, it is regrettable that there may be an impact from the decision not to provide an organised display in that unofficial displays may take place in the town.”
Coun Fleming said party politics would play no part in the decision and members were free to vote as they see fit.
Budget cuts forced Darlington Borough Council to axe its bonfire night display in 2010.
In 2011, radio station TFM organised a Halloween event, but there was nothing held last year.
The last organised display at Bishop Auckland was in 2010. The following year, the town's rugby club, which hosted the event for Durham County Council, pulled out.
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