Could this be the end of New Year’s Eve celebrations in Bideford?

Bideford fireworks. credit Graham Hobbs
Bideford fireworks. credit Graham Hobbs

Bideford Town Council has pledged its support to fireworks in the town at New Year’s Eve, but organisers say the council’s lack of support for the event itself is ‘disappointing’. What do you think?

Bideford Town Council has pledged funding towards the town’s New Year’s Eve fireworks – but councillors said they were ‘disappointed’ with recent years.

The town was once hailed as one of the best places in the world to see in the New Year, but the celebrations have ‘dwindled’ in recent years, councillors said.

At its meeting on Thursday, members voted to agree £7,000 towards the fireworks.

But New Year’s Eve organiser, Unique Events, has hit back at the council for its ‘lack of support’ towards the event, saying they were ‘saddened’ at the feedback.

It came after an agenda item asking the council to consider an email from Unique Events requesting ‘additional support’ and the formation of a working group.

It asked the council to consider setting up the group to see how the event could be developed, and to increase the value of its grant.

Councillor David Howell told the meeting on Thursday: “I’m 100 per cent behind supporting, as fully as we can, the fireworks display.

“As far as the rest of the evening is concerned, I find it rather disappointing the way it’s moved in the last few years.”

Bideford New Year's Eve 2014. Pictures by Graham Hobbs. Bideford New Year's Eve 2014. Pictures by Graham Hobbs.

Councillor Howell said the last couple of years, it had been very quiet up until around 11.15pm.

Councillors said they wanted to ring-fence money to go towards the fireworks and not other aspects such as security or the stage on the Quay.

But Phil Morgan, of Unique Events said ‘countless man hours’ went into the organisation, including security, fencing, toilet facilities and road closures.

He said: “I am saddened to think the council is not willing to look at ways in which they can work with us in support of this event.

“We went to them initially with the idea of forming some kind of ‘events working group’ to look at ways in which together the event could evolve.

“But clearly the council has no appetite for that and it is with great regret we will not entertain the idea of organising another event in the town on New Year’s Eve without the proper funding and support in place.”

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