Councillors waive fees for Gosport Waterfront Festival

FULL BLAST Tribute band T.Rextasy at last year's Gosport Festival
FULL BLAST Tribute band T.Rextasy at last year's Gosport Festival

Taxpayers forking out millions in legal costs

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COUNCILLORS have agreed to waive thousands of pounds in fees for the organisers of this year’s Gosport Waterfront Festival.

It comes as a newly-formed company in charge of the show has said it hopes to hold more events in the town.

The not-for-profit organisation, Gosport Waterfront Community Festivals Limited, asked Gosport Borough Council to waive the £4,200 hiring fee for Walpole Park.

It also asked for the council to provide £2,400 in printing costs and publicity services.

Councillors agreed to back the festival, which takes place between June 1 and 4.

Dale Fletcher is one of three directors of the organisation alongside former Gosport councillor Dave Smith.

He said he hopes the group could hold more events throughout the town in the future.

Mr Fletcher said: ‘I’m grateful for the support the council is offering the waterfront festival organisation. We’d like to expand for the good of Gosport and there is a potential to do other events.’

Last year, the council voted to scrap funding for the annual festival as part of cost-cutting measures.

A group of residents and councillors stepped in to take on the running of it and found private sponsorship.

The leader of the council Cllr Mark Hook, aid: ‘The founding of a company will mean the continuation of the festival for many years to come. We should applaud those who set it up.

‘When I said there wouldn’t be any more financial contribution to it I said I believed it could be self-funding and I’m delighted that is the way forward.’

Cllr Hook said he is no longer involved with running the event.

Lib Dem opposes cash decision

ONE of Gosport’s opposition leaders refused to back the waiving of fees for the festival.

The leader of the Lib Dems Cllr Peter Chegwyn said he had concerns after the group in charge of the festival had not supplied audited accounts from last year’s event.

But the leader of the council Cllr Mark Hook says the accounts have already been checked and received by officers. Cllr Chegwyn said: ‘I am all for any event that is good for the borough but I’m not happy with the finances of this. An audit of accounts was supposed to be provided and no audit was received.’

But Cllr Hook said: ‘The audits have recently been received. Had Cllr Chegwyn asked at the meeting he would have been told.

‘A community group that asks to use council land is not charged.’