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Bonfire Night fizzles out across Manchester parks as council blames 'rising costs'
5 October 2023, 18:59 | Updated: 5 October 2023, 19:51
Manchester City Council has confirmed it will not be running bonfire night events or fireworks at their parks, including Heaton Park, for the second year in a row.
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Last year, the events for Bonfire Night were cancelled after a two-year lay-off during the pandemic.
The Council has said they looked at the cost-benefit of putting on bonfire events but with the cost of living crisis and pressure on budgets, they say the focus should be on delivering a "bespoke" programme of autumn and winter activities for local communities.
Such activities include pumpkin carving, an event called Halloween in the City, and the Christmas parade.
However, some residents argue that free council events, such as Bonfire Night fireworks, are "vital" for Manchester's communities.
Manchester based journalist, Craig Ward, told LBC: "It’s a real shame to see that again the plug has been pulled on the 5th November events.
"Manchester City Council has not held a large-scale event since before Covid. With the rising cost of living, many across Manchester will struggle to afford to attend other paid for events - council led events are therefore vital for our communities.
"Building bridges between communities is so important especially given the rising levels of crime, anti social behaviour and social decide across the district.
"I hope the council will re-evaluate its decision in light of public interest.”
Councillor Lee Ann Igbon, Executive Member for Vibrant Neighbourhoods, defended the decision and said: "As Halloween and Bonfire Night approaches, we want to remind residents that council-organised bonfire events will again not be taking place in our parks this year.
"We have looked carefully at the cost-benefit of putting on these huge bonfire events and with the continuing rising costs and pressure on our budgets, we feel that our focus, like last year, should be on delivering a bespoke program of autumn and winter park activities for local communities starting with half-term in late October."
She added that the council received positive feedback from smaller-scale events held last year, “which the local communities wanted”.
The councillor added that the council wanted to focus on “relevant” and “meaningful” activities for local neighborhoods.
She concluded: “We will continue to work with our partners to ensure that all our residents stay safe this season."
An evaluation from last year found that the decision to not hold Bonfire Night events did not increase anti-social behavior.
The council said they will be working with partner agencies to promote the safety messages to prevent anti-social behaviour in the run-up to and during Bonfire Night.
As a safety measure for the firework-based celebration, the council will provide an emergency bonfire removal service for bonfire constructions of 'significant concern' when they are not located on privately owned land.