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Organisers to tackle firework display parking problems

By Stour & Avon Magazine  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

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COLEHILL Parish Council is to work with the organisers of the annual Wimborne Bonfire and Fireworks evening in the future, in an effort to avoid this year's parking problems.

This was despite a park'n'ride from Wimborne Market having been organised.

The event, which took place at St Michael's School and is hailed as the county's longest firework display raised funds for the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation and the Colehill Community Sports Hall.

David Mitchell, chairman of Colehill Parish Council said: "The event is highly organised after proper consultation with safety agencies. Our concern has been with the rate and manner in which it is growing."

He added that people had disregarded parking restrictions.

"This had the potential to make the area hazardous and we have agreed to work together before next year's event to try to overcome the problem. There are ways round this," said Mr Mitchell.

"Unfortunately it is always the case that some people do not want to walk even a few yards to an event or to use the park and ride facility.

"With an event of this size being held in Colehill we think it is right that the Parish Council should be involved in order to represent all shades of local opinion without spoiling what is a great event.

Colehill Parish Council is always happy to see a well organised community event on home territory.

Geoff Beck, who founded the event in 2004 and is one of the organising management team said:

"The annual Wimborne and Colehill Bonfire and Fireworks Evening has been running for nine years as a safe, well-organised and enjoyable community event, of which Colehill and Wimborne should be proud. In that time, over £50,000 has been raised for causes that directly benefit the residents of Colehill and the pupils of the school and other charities.

"With its ever-increasing popularity, East Dorset District Council lately considered this annual event as "a major public event" and asked the organising team to participate in their Safety Advisory Group Committee meetings in the eight months prior. These meetings are to satisfy all interested parties that all event aspects were being considered, and that we continued planning the event in a professional manner. That committee is composed of local councillors, council safety and event planning officers, and members of the Police, Fire and Rescue services and Dorset County Council roads officers. The event team participated fully with them and again produced a very comprehensive event and risk plan for 2012, in the same way that we have done so since the first display in 2004.

"As a result of those deliberations, and with the help of Wimborne Market, Damory and the AA, we believed that laying on an 800-space park and ride scheme would vastly improve the parking provision. Despite that facility, two complaints of parking obstruction were reported to the Police. As a proportion of the thousands of people who attended this was relatively small, but it is still frustrating if some drivers fail to park sensibly and cause an inconvenience. I agree with Councillor Mitchell in that there will always be an element of drivers who do not think about their actions, no matter what provisions are in place.

This sole concern of the Parish Council was made aware to me last week, and having since had conversations with both the clerk and chairman, I have suggested that a parish council representative also participates in our future SAG planning with EDDC. I am happy that this is a constructive way to consider other options, and I look forward to the parish council's suggestions to help continue building on what is regarded as one of Dorset's best community events."

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