Mayor fears council charges could kill off events
POPULAR events in Newquay such as the Lions' Carnival, Flora Dance and Civic Parade could be killed off if a new charging system is introduced by Cornwall Council.
This is the fear of the town's mayor, Kevin Towill, who criticised proposals to charge event organisers for road closures, sign and cone hire, and training for volunteer traffic stewards.
Although pre-event advice will still be free, organisers may have to pay up to £350 for an event application or temporary traffic order.
Under the plans there could also be a charge of up to £200 for no-waiting cones and £60 per head for steward training.
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The council hopes to raise more than £50,000 from the new system.
Mr Towill told the Cornish Guardian: "There are numerous events that happen all-year-round that will be affected and I'm worried that a lot of these won't be able to take place if these charges are made. This will have an impact on locals and visitors alike.
"It seems to me to be a false economy. We are encouraging community groups and voluntary organisations to get together and run events and this will be a huge discouragement for them to go ahead.
"They have already been lumbered with the bureaucratic burden of sorting out all the paperwork, whereas before they would just ring the council and they would sort it out. It's going a step too far to impose a financial burden as well."
A spokeswoman for Cornwall Council said cuts in government funding and the police's decision to stop supporting events was costing the authority £170,000 a year.
Under the proposed changes, the council would continue to subsidise costs for organisers of small community events, as well as for not-for-profit organisations and charities.
For a small carnival or fête, organisers would pay £80 for the application and temporary traffic management order, as well as £50 for cones, she said.
Tony Brokenshire, secretary of the nationally-renowned Crantock Big Bale Push, said the charges would not threaten the event, although he feared for smaller ones.
He said: "The charges are not prohibitive for us but we'd rather not pay them as they divert money from the charity. We understand the council has to raise money."
Cornwall Council is seeking the views of parish councils, event organisers and the public before a final decision is taken later this year.