COUNCIL chiefs yesterday sealed the fate of Spalding Flower Parade – next year’s event is definitely the last.
South Holland deputy leader Paul Przyszlak and county executive member for economic development Eddy Poll say their authorities are strapped for cash.
Both say they can no longer justify spending thousands of pounds of council tax payers’ on the Flower Parade, but promise it will go out with a bang and the 2013 event will be a celebration of the parades of the last half-century.
South Holland gives £40,000 to the parade and the county council gives the same.
But the county underwrites the event – funding losses – and that means it picks up a whopping £150,000 bill.
Our sister newspaper the Lincolnshire Free Press reported on July 10 that the parade’s future looked bleak and the 2013 parade was set to be the 55th and last event.
Since then the county council has lost a £40,000 European grant which helped finance the parade.
Coun Poll said: “I have been involved in the Flower Parade now for about 25 years so personally it’s a very sad occasion for me, the end of an era.”
Both councils had done their best to keep it going but couldn’t do that without the backing of businesses and residents.
Coun Poll said commercial input for this year was a little under £30,000 – if local businesses and local people were not interested in contributing then it was not right for councils to keep on putting in money.
It’s likely Kenyon Communications will be asked to organise the final parade as they have for the past couple of years. Coun Przyszlak said: “It’s going to be a final fling.”
The district council had done all it could to save cash, including merging back office work with East Lindsey and senior management with Breckland.
Those moves saved £1million a year to help cushion Government cuts but there are still tough financial pressures. He said: “Councils don’t have the money that they did have.”
Coun Przyszlak said the Flower Parade had faded in popularity since its heydey when 200,000 to 250,000 people came to see it – this year there were just 45,000.
He hopes South Holland Food Festival will surge in popularity as food is now more synonymous with South Holland than tulips.