A NEW event to replace Spalding’s Flower Parade would just be “reinventing the wheel”, according to MP John Hayes.
Mr Hayes has renewed his vow to save the landmark event – which will be held for the last time in 2013 – after Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce said now was the time to start formulating plans for what could replace it to ensure the town does not lose out on the £1.2m spent annually by visitors.
The MP for South Holland and the Deepings said: “The replacement for the flower parade should be the flower parade.
“We need something that attracts tourists, celebrates our heritage of food and farming, that is beautiful and provides a spectacle through the town.
“It should evolve, but if we sat down to design something new we would most likely come up with something like the flower parade.
“Anything else would just be reinventing the wheel.”
Mr Hayes is now intending to organise a meeting between Lincolnshire County Council, South Holland District Council, the chamber, Kenyon Communications, which has organised the last two parades, and any other interested parties to discuss the way forward.
He hopes that meeting will go ahead within the next couple of weeks to allow plenty of time for plans to be drawn up for the flower parade to return in 2014.
He added: “I find it bizarre that they are considering ending it when we had this debate just a few years ago and it was conceded that it was of immense value to the local economy and was important in terms of the identity of Spalding and South Holland.
“It requires imagination and a degree of creative thinking to make it evermore attractive and appealing, but make no mistake I am not prepared to see it wither and die.
“There is no need to reinvent something we already have.”
Last week, Chamber president Phil Scarlett and tourism spokesman David Norton stressed the importance of the parade to the local economy.
They suggested replacing it with a food and flower festival, which could include open days at farms and food factories, church flower festivals as well as static “floats” arranged around the town.