Council’s annual bonfire is scrapped

WATER has been poured on hopes for a revival of the annual civic bonfire staged by Ashfield District Council.

For the popular event, which was often held in Hucknall, as well as other parts of the district, has been axed in a bid to save thousands of pounds.

Initially, it appeared that the traditional bonfire and fireworks display would return after a year off — because Ashfield Council announced in April it had set aside cash in its budget.

But at the council’s latest Cabinet meeting, after recommendations that it would be too expensive, members agreed to ditch the idea. Instead, it will support local events organised by other groups. Council leader, Coun John Knight (Lab), said residents would not miss out because the new plan was similar to last year’s scheme, which had been deemed a success.

“This way, we are providing the same service at a lesser cost to the taxpayer,” said Coun Knight.

However Coun Jason Zadrozny (Lib Dem) said the Labour-led authority had broken a promise to bring the bonfire back.

“They made a pre-election promise that they were going to re-establish this event because of the strength of public feeling — and now it is not going ahead,” said Coun Zadrozny.

“This is an event that, in the past, has attracted up to 20,000 people and never less than 14,000. It costs less than £1 per person, which is a ridiculously small amount of money in the grand scheme of things.”

Councillors voted in support of the officers’ recommendations to drop plans to reinstate the bonfire event, which was last held at Sutton Lawn in 2009.

Costs were estimated at a combined £37,000 to put on two events this year, in Sutton and Hucknall.

Traditionally, the event had alternated between Sutton Lawn and Hucknall on a yearly basis.