Newton Aycliffe fireworks display axed - but organisers hope for its return next year (From The Northern Echo)
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Newton Aycliffe fireworks display axed - but organisers hope for its return next year
A TOWN'S annual fireworks display has been called off for this year - after it became too popular.
However, members of Newton Aycliffe Town Council hope arrangements can be put in place for its return in 2014.
Councillors were forced to consider the future of the display after officers said too many people were turning up and it was proving too difficult to manage the event safely.
At a special meeting, councillors were told the increase in numbers attending the display could be attributed to the loss of organised events in Darlington and Bishop Auckland.
Instead of the usual attendance of about 5,000, last year up to three times that number flocked to the grounds of Newton Aycliffe's Oakleaf Leisure Centre to watch the fireworks.
This had caused problems with traffic congestion, parking, access to the site and some anti-social behaviour involving groups from Darlington and Bishop Auckland.
Leisure manager Judith Thexton said as a result of problems last year, meetings had been held between the council and the County Durham Safety Advisory Group (SAG).
Talks covered all aspects of staging the fireworks display and it had become evident there were simply too many issues to overcome for this year's event to proceed.
Town clerk Andrew Bailey said: “Although a number of matters could be addressed, a number of serious concerns remained unresolved.
“The decision was therefore taken to cancel the display for 2013.”
He added: “However, it was agreed that the council and officers should look at all additional measures which may enable the event to take place in 2014.”
Councillor Bob Fleming, Labour leader, said the problems had arisen because the Newton Aycliffe display was no longer just for the town as a result of other organised events falling by the wayside.
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.
Public fireworks displays continue to be organised at Barnard Castle and nearby Gainford.
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