Council cancels fire on bonfire night over health and safety
Portsmouth council forced to cancel traditional fire as they cannot afford the health and safety costs on their budget.
A bonfire with a traditional effigy of Guy Fawkes would have cost £4,600
A council has been forced to cancel its fire during a Bonfire Night display because it cannot afford the health and safety costs.
A bonfire with a traditional effigy of Guy Fawkes would cost £4,600, but Portsmouth council has already spent the £19,600 budget on the fireworks display which will still go ahead in Cosham, Hants, next Wednesday.
Aided Gray, a Labour councillor, said it is a ‘terrible shame’ the bonfire will be missing from the popular family event.
He said: "It is a terrible shame to see the bonfire cut.
"I know the council has to make cuts but it is such an important event for a lot of people in the city.
"I am disappointed the decision is not being looked into more."
Cllr Gray added that other organisations could have been called upon to help fund the event.
He also added less could have been spent on the fireworks, which would have allowed the council to spend more on the bonfire.
He added: "We could have asked the rotary club, for example, to help and then given proceeds from the night to charity.
"It is such a wonderful event that I think the budget for it needed to be balanced better.
"They could have had fewer fireworks or cheaper fireworks to include the bonfire but I don't think much was said about it when the decision was made.
"The council could have called on the community to help.
"They should have been able to empower the community to take it on and help."
But former Portsmouth City Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said it has been a year since the decision was made and councillors could have arranged something had they wanted to.
He added: "It was a cross-party decision to cut the bonfire from the events.
"If some councillors wanted to get community groups involved, they have had a whole year to do it.
"Many people still know the event as the IBM fireworks, even though IBM haven't sponsored it for years, so the fireworks are continuing.
"But we have also got the return of the funfair after it was stopped by police for safety reasons.
"The attractions will be for children under 12 and I think this makes it better for local people."
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