Saturday, 5th September 2015

Threat to leisure event over unpaid bills.

The future of one of Bridgnorth’s biggest leisure events has been thrown into doubt over unpaid bills owed to the town council.

Councillors gave the organisers of the Rally in the Valley event until March 16 to pay money owed from last year’s event – believed to be around £700.

The council has agreed to discuss the situation at its April 18 meeting to see what action should be taken over the missed payments, which could see the event being cancelled.

A resolution was also passed during Tuesday’s town council meeting stating money for this year’s event must be paid upfront by May 31 for the event to go ahead.

Organisers of the rally, which is due to be held from July 21-22, said they were grateful for the extension and were positive the event would still go ahead.

Brian Davies, speaking on behalf of the rally committee, said: “Due to the heavy rains over the weekend at last year’s rally visitor numbers were down on the previous year and therefore income was substantially below what was budgeted.

“After the event further costs were incurred from the town council regarding car park staff costs and additional hire charges which had not been included in our original budgets.”

Mr Davies said the rally cost £15,000 to stage and was dependant upon the fees it received from trade exhibitors and gate money.

He said: “Unfortunately the rally has been hit by the recession and the projected forward receipts from traders for 2012 has been slower than anticipated.

“We are already receiving entries for this year’s event from exhibitors across the UK and enquiries for hotel accommodation and camp sites.

“The Severn Park location has been a key element in the success of the Rally, which is now in its fifth year.

“Bridgnorth has become a popular destination for steam and vintage engine enthusiasts who bring much needed revenue to the local economy during the rally weekend.”

Councillor Adrian Tacchi, speaking at a meeting of Bridgnorth Town Council on Tuesday night, said: “We passed a resolution that Rally in the Valley were to settle in full by March 16, that is after having promised to have paid us last December, again they promised in January.

“They did the same the year before.”

Councillor Tacchi said the organisers had not adhered to their agreement and questioned whether the town council should be dealing with them.

He said he was in favour of the event but mindful it was money owed to taxpayers not the council and questioned whether the town council had done everything possible to protect the public purse.

Councillor Ian Seivewrig- ht said Rally in the Valley was not the only organisation which owed the town council money.

James Fisher