A PARISH councillor branded some of his peers’ comments as “miserable” in a debate over whether to support a village music festival.

Hurworth Village Hall committee wrote to Hurworth Parish Council asking for a £1,000 donation towards a proposed summer festival and requesting the council underwrite the event to the tune of £4,000.

Hugh Jackson, chair of the committee, told a recent parish council meeting at Hurworth Grange that the ticketed event would be held on Manor Fields on July 19 and feature bands playing music through the decades from 1910 to the 70s and 80s.

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He said it was hoped that four or five acts would perform at the festival, which could become an annual event, but the committee needed support from the parish council and sponsors to make it happen.

Coun John Howard was strongly opposed to underwriting the festival, saying he was worried the council would be “left holding the baby” if it was a flop.

He added: “I don’t see anything wrong in giving some kind of grant to get this event off the ground, but to act as an underwriter takes the enthusiasm away from the people organising it.”

However, Coun Ken Pattison said it was the role of the parish council to support such events and he was critical of councillors who did not want to back the festival with a substantial financial contribution.

He said: “You have got a group of people in the community who are trying to make an effort to do something for the community, not for themselves, and there will be an awful lot of work for this.

“The parish council should be doing all it can to develop community spirit in this day and age.”

He added: “I think the comments that have been made around this table are completely and utterly miserable and not supported by the community and I strongly suggest they (councillors) should reconsider their comments.”

Coun Pattison also pointed out that the committee had a good record of organising successful events for Hurworth in the past.

Councillors discussed various funding options before Coun Ian Holme proposed a motion for the parish council to donate £2,000 to the event.

Coun Howard voted against the motion, but nine councillors voted in favour so it was passed.

The Village Hall committee will now have to raise the remaining £2,000 needed through sponsorship and fundraising events.