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Campaign launched to save Newton Aycliffe fireworks display
RESIDENTS fear the loss of their town fireworks display will lead to an increase in dangerous unsupervised events and have launched a campaign to reinstate it next year.
Acorn Residents Association in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, launched the campaign after Great Aycliffe Town Council called off the town’s Bonfire Night celebrations for health and safety reasons.
Chairman Ken Robson said the loss of the display would encourage residents to hold their own unsupervised bonfire parties, which he claims pose a far greater risk to public safety.
“Common sense dictates that holding an event in a central location is safer than diverse unsupervised sites and will focus our emergency services on one area,” he said.
“We realise that there are some minor safety concerns with the site of the current display, however none are insurmountable to a willing organiser.”
A free fireworks display has been held at the Oakleaf Sports Complex for 30 years and regularly attracts up to 5,000 people.
However, attendance has surged following the cancellation of events in Darlington and Bishop Auckland in 2010.
Last year, more than 8,000 people turned out, leading to problems with traffic congestion, parking, access and anti-social behaviour.
Its growing popularity also made it impossible for Great Aycliffe Town Council to predict how many people would attend this year and, last month, a decision was taken to cancel the display.
Councillors agreed to investigate measures to re-establish the display in 2014 but many residents fear it will be forgotten about.
Acorn Residents Association is determined to prevent this and is urging residents to write to the council in support of the display.
A Facebook group called Save our fireworks display at Newton Aycliffe has also been set up and a petition will be distributed across the town over the next few weeks.
Councillor John Clare, deputy leader of Great Aycliffe Town Council, said it would have been unsafe to go-ahead with the event without a clear idea of how many people would attend.
He continued: “The motion was absolutely explicit that we will do everything in our power to try and put it on next year and we remain fully committed to this.
“We realise that organised events like these save lives.”
Letters can be sent to: Council Offices, School Aycliffe Lane, Newton Aycliffe, DL5 6QF or via the comments page on the council’s website great-aycliffe.gov.uk
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