Fears for traditional events as flower show hit with 2018 licence increase

PUBLISHED: 12:00 31 March 2018

Alan Baker with his winning dalias at last year's flower show.

Alan Baker with his winning dalias at last year's flower show.

Archant

The chairman of Clevedon Flower Show says traditions are at risk of ‘disappearing’ due to North Somerset Council price hikes.

The annual show is held on the Salthouse Fields and sees thousands of visitors enjoy the exhibits and entertainment on offer.

In 2016 organisers were hit with an increase in licence to occupy fees, which rose from £112 to £228 but this year need to pay an additional £253.60 premises licence to cover its live music.

The flower show committee works to a tight budget each year and chairman Valerie Day admits these extra costs make it tougher to ‘balance the books’.

She said: “We have more than enough trouble trying to raise sufficient funds to stage the show year on year, and this year we have been working really hard to get sponsorship from local businesses and have been quite successful – only then to be landed with these additional costs.

“I am beginning to wonder whether the council actually wants us to hold these local events.

“It will be a very sad day when all these traditions disappear from Clevedon because of the continued increasing costs incurred by North Somerset Council.

“I know there is a lot of financial pressure on local government but surely it cannot be necessary to target voluntary organisations which work so hard for the community, planning these events for the whole year in order to balance the books.”

However North Somerset Council says the licence fee is a one-off cost and will not be required to be paid for future festivals.

A North spokesman added: “In previous years we have allowed the organisers of the flower festival to use the council’s premises licence for Salthouse Fields, but this is no longer possible.

“A premises licence should be held by the event organisers, not the landowner.”

This year’s Clevedon Flower Show will be held from August 25-26.

The show will also be raising money for The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal with 10 per cent of raffle takings to be given to the charity.

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