Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Councillors say they won't put the brakes on Ormskirk MotorFest in 2013
Both the Tory-controlled local authority and the opposition Labour group have said they are keen for the motorsport-themed event to continue next year, even though both sides say they are keen to increase the amount of private sponsorship in order to reduce the burden on West Lancashire taxpayers to fund the show.
A spokesperson for West Lancashire Borough Council said: “The 2012 Ormskirk MotorFest was a huge success, attracting 15,000 visitors to see magnificent displays of motor vehicles. West Lancashire Borough Council was very pleased to see this success built on the achievements of the inaugural MotorFest in 2011.
"In principle, the Council would like to see the Ormskirk MotorFest take place in 2013. However, if some sponsorship could be secured than this would enable the Council to help ensure it can go ahead in the future. We will be looking into potential funding arrangements and also having discussions with Aintree Circuit Club, who organise the MotorFest, about how best we can work together to run the event in the future. We would certainly welcome any parties interested in sponsoring all or part of the event to contact us at this early stage."
Life On Cars asked the council's Labour group - who were 29 votes away from winning control of West Lancashire at the local elections in May - whether they would support a 2013 Ormskirk MotorFest, given their decision to call in funding for this year's event and suggestions from Ormskirk Conservative councillor Adrian Owens that had Labour been in control the event would not have taken place.
Cllr Owens said: "Firstly, at the beginning of the year they tried to strangle the MotorFest at birth by arguing that much of the council money underwriting the event should be withdrawn.
"There would have been no MotorFest if we had followed Labour’s line."
The Labour group responded by saying that it is keen to see the event being held in 2013, but said it was keen to see the private sector offer up more sponsorship and reiterated support for a ‘West Lancashire Show', which could be instigated using funds previously earmarked for the MotorFest.
Councillor John Fillis, leader of the council's Labour group, said: “Labour has always supported Ormskirk's MotorFest and will continue to do so, but we see a bigger role being played by the private sector in the form of sponsorship. At present the Tories are increasing the funding by 75% annually for the one day event, if this continues as the event grows then by 2014 they will be spending over £50,000, while cutting back on vital service for local people by 30%.
"Many local retail businesses that I have spoken to are willing to support the show due to the amount of custom the festival drew. This we believe could be reflected on a bigger scale if only the council were to be more ambitious and take the initiative."
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