THE bonfire at a popular fireworks show is being brought back after a local firm stepped in to save it.
Residents were outraged after it was revealed the spectacle at King George V Playing Fields in Cosham, Portsmouth, would not have its usual fire next Wednesday because of budget cuts.
It was a bid by the previous Lib Dem council to save £4,600 while ensuring the fireworks went ahead and a funfair was brought back for the first time in years.
But now Cllr Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, has persuaded a business to contribute all the wood and clean-up equipment needed afterwards, meaning the bonfire will go ahead at no extra cost to the taxpayer.
The Tory leader realised she had to take action after realising the community would go without because of last year’s cost-cutting decision.
Cllr Jones said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted that the bonfire is now going to go ahead and with over 10,000 attending each year, it would have been a sad loss to the city if we didn’t have the bonfire.’
‘It came to my attention last week that it was part of the budget cuts that went through,’ she said.
‘I was extremely disappointed that the bonfire would not be going ahead this year.
‘I have lived in Portsmouth all of my life and I remember going to the bonfire at Cosham since I was four.
‘I want to make sure children in this city continue to grow up witnessing the bonfire as an attraction and it’s something they will remember.’
L&S Waste Management Ltd, which has offices in Portsmouth and Fareham, has agreed to provide firewood, as well as lorries and skips to help clear up afterwards.
Cllr Jones said the company was told it will feature in council advertisements and has been invited to corporate events as a thank-you for its contribution.
The move comes after Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem group leader, argued it had been some time since the budget decision and something could have been arranged to cover costs and ensure the bonfire still happened.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I am really pleased.
‘It’s good to find companies which are prepared to do things like this and that’s going to mean we will have fireworks, a funfair and a bonfire happening there and that’s better than what’s been happening there for many years.’
Mick Balch, managing director of L&S Waste, said: ‘We are a local company that has been operating in and around Portsmouth for 20 years and we do a lot for the community.
‘A lot of our employees go to the fireworks year in year out and we are happy to be involved wherever we can.’