ORGANISERS of Warwick Rocks Food and Film Festival are devastated after red tape forced them to pull the plug on this year’s event.
The inaugural free film screenings and street food market saw the town centre packed out last summer and organisers were hoping for the same again over the forthcoming August Bank Holiday weekend.
But they say they had no option but to cancel the film screening in Market Square and Smith Street owing to demands from Warwick District Council that they say were not possible to meet.
Spokesman Jack Linstead said: “We provided all the information we provided last year, such as event notices, risk assessments, stewarding forms etc, but the difficulty has come about because of new information needed this year, such as detailed traffic management plans which have to come from a separate traffic management company, a site layout detailing every market trader and what they are selling for the Smith Street event – as this is still being sold it simply isn’t possible and this is true of most events.”
He added they were also requested to attend a Safety Advisory Group, but we were only asked to attend last week, with the event just three weeks away.
“Much of this meant that Warwick District Council said we might not get an event license,” said Mr Linstead. “As we have to spend thousands booking screens etc, we could not risk the event with the council expressing so many concerns and putting so many procedures in place.
“Also, keep in mind we all work all day, so we’re trying to pull this community event together in our own time!”
Earlier this year organisers were also told by the council that because of licensing issues the planned line-up of films could not be shown, restricting films to PG and U ratings.
A spokesperson for Warwick District Council said it had agreed a one-off grant of £3,000 to support the event conditional on organisers meeting license requirements – presenting risk assessments, insurance documents and an event plan – which the council added were the same as required for previous events run by Warwick Rocks.
Council culture spokeswoman Coun Sue Gallagher, said: “We are obviously disappointed that these events are not now taking place, but the council has a duty to ensure that all events open to members of the public are managed in a safe way and in line with health and safety guidelines.
“Our events team work with a wide range of community groups throughout the year, supporting over 100 events ranging from small community events to large national events. Therefore it is disappointing to hear that Warwick Rocks have taken this decision after a significant amount of support having been offered for this event.”