A councillor has admitted the local authority “took its eye off the ball” before this summer’s Cleethorpes Carnival was cancelled after 41 years.
The summer extravaganza has been one of the mainstay events in the resort’s calendar and last year’s event saw in excess of 70 charity and community floats make their way through Cleethorpes, attracting around 25,000 people along the traditional route.
North East Lincolnshire Council is making attempts to revive the carnival next year and is in the process of seeking a major sponsor to make the event viable.
Councillor Matthew Patrick, portfolio holder for finance, governance and tourism, admitted the council had slipped up and expressed disappointment at the cancellation of this year’s carnival.
“It was very upsetting for a lot of people, including myself, who have always thoroughly enjoyed the carnival,” he said.
“Unfortunately, ten years ago, a Liberal-Tory administration made the decision to effectively outsource the running of the carnival and waved it off into the sunset.
“Unfortunately it meant, as an authority, we took our eye off the ball and the carnival has been missed this year.”
He added that a tendering process would enable the council to seek partners who are “fit and able to run the carnival to bring it back to its former glory.”
“Next year we might have to dip our hands into our pockets to make sure the tendering process is delivered but we do want the carnival to become self-sustainable again and actually bring joy to thousands of people, not just in the area but outside too. People travel from far and wide to Cleethorpes Carnival,” he said.
“We need to ensure the carnival is delivered with us taking a bit of a backseat role, looking over the shoulder of those who deliver it to make sure everything is above board and appropriate.”
An organiser to potentially deliver the carnival in future years is required, subject to the safe and successful delivery of the 2018 event. Bidders will be required to outline their plans beyond 2018 to council officers.
As reported in April, the council confirmed that the parade was pulled from this year’s calendar after a tender process run by the council failed to find a company to take over the running of the event.
The move came after the future of the parade had been thrown into doubt after Young’s Seafood, which stepped in to save it back in 2012, decided to review its “social, charitable and community commitments”.
Council leader Ray Oxby said: “We do see the carnival as important in the area’s tourism offer in the Cleethorpes area.
“We have taken early action and have commenced the procurement exercise and that shows our ambition and commitment to the carnival. But the council can no longer be the provider and we have to work with partners.”