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No support for call to reduce funding for SO Festival in Skegness

By East Lindsey Target  |  Posted: January 22, 2013

The fireworks finale at last year's SO Festival in Skegness

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A COUNCILLOR has called for East Lindsey District Council to start withdrawing funding to deliver the annual SO Festival.

Independent Councillor Daniel Simpson for Ludford presented a motion to the full council to pull £50,000 of the £360,000 reserved in the council budget to deliver the week-long summer festival.

He also proposed that the council should hand over the delivery of the festival to partners such as voluntary bodies and business sponsorship.

He said: "2012 was a great year for celebrations and events and having looked at all the reports, the SO project did not do quite as well as it did in 2011.

"There should be no presumption that ELDC should always be the lead partner. We are having to think very seriously about monies and what we continue to do in the future."

The SO Festival started in 2008 on the back of the Seas Festival in Skegness in 2007.

Originally delivered over four days, ELDC made it a week-long festival last year with events taking place across the district.

Although it is now district wide, some councillors claimed it still only benefits Skegness.

Coningsby and Tattershall Councillor Ray Curtis dubbed it the 'Skegness Only' festival.

He said: "People in Coningsby do not know what the SO Festival is.

"It should be more than £50,000 we take out. Eventually you will realise we cannot afford it and we are simply carrying it on for the sake of carrying it on. If Skegness want it they should pay for it."

Councillor Steve O'Dare for Winthorpe said people need to realise it is now district wide and suggested maybe it was time for the event to change its name.

He said: "It would be wrong to withdraw funding in the middle of a period of expansion in the SO Festival. It genuinely does attract people far and wide to the district and much wider. It should be allowed to grow and become bigger and better."

Councillor Kevin Smith for Wainfleet/Friskney said withdrawing £50,000 of funding will have a detrimental effect on the whole of East Lindsey while Councillor Adam Grist for Legbourne recognised the festival as a key economic driver.

Leader of the council, Doreen Stephenson said: "I am not able to support this motion. In 2007 we set upon this innovative idea and everybody worked extremely hard to deliver it and now received national and international recognition.

"Last year we had people from all over Europe here in East Lindsey. This is an exciting time to continue it."

The motion was not supported by the council, having only received nine votes in favour.

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