Council accused of greed as Weston transport festival may fold

Ray Melluish in his Sunbeam Talbot Alpine from 1953.

Ray Melluish in his Sunbeam Talbot Alpine from 1953. - Credit: Archant

People are pleading for the council to rethink a hike in hire charges after a popular Weston event announced it was in danger of disbanding.

The Pageant of Transport, which is held at the Beach Lawns over Easter, is under threat as organisers claim North Somerset Council has increased the cost to rent the site and imposed additional regulations and charges which will make holding the event more difficult.

Organiser Keith Palmer said: “The council can’t seem to get it into its heads that we have never made a penny out of these shows, it all goes to charity.

Car clubs who take part in the event have stepped in and hope to save the event from being cancelled.

A council spokesman said: “There are costs incurred by us to administer, facilitate and support these events and we do need to make sure that the assets we have generate an income.

“In discussions we’ve had with the organiser they told us they weren’t able to pay for the lawn space they use, or meet the documentation or traffic management requirements which we ask of every organiser for an event of this size.”

Many people took to social media to share their view.

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Ian Lovell wrote: “As this is an attraction which will generate further income to the area, the council should consider reducing the charges. If it doesn’t go ahead, the effect of reduced profits to businesses could be the difference between success and failure.”

Kim Hill Miller commented: “It should be considered a loss leader by the council to encourage tourists and the increased revenue they bring with them.”

Victoria Hicks said: “The fees have got to change. Just stop being greedy and let them use it at a smaller rate.”

John Lambert wrote: “This sounds about normal for the council. It prices these events out of the market and makes no money and gets no visitors. Why not concrete over the beach and build a couple of blocks of flats?”

Gareth Saunders commented: “Never mind, the travellers will be back by then for their four days free camping so the lawns won’t be wasted.”

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