Baffled over bike show
SHOCKED and baffled was the reaction today from tourism chiefs mystified why one of Felixstowe's biggest events has been pulled out of the town.Organisers of the resort's annual motorcycle show were told by Suffolk Coastal council that it could not be held on the main seafront.
SHOCKED and baffled was the reaction today from tourism chiefs mystified why one of Felixstowe's biggest events has been pulled out of the town.
Organisers of the resort's annual motorcycle show were told by Suffolk Coastal council that it could not be held on the main seafront.
The event – which attracts 20,000 people – will now take place at the Suffolk Showground on the edge of Ipswich on July 14.
Event organiser Les Arbon said the council had asked him a year ago to move the bike show to the main seafront.
But the authority said there had been no agreement over moving it to the prom and Convalescent car park and was shocked and baffled by the announcement.
"Mr Arbon has tried to point the finger of blame for his decision on Suffolk
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Coastal, which I think is outrageous and utter nonsense," said Doreen Savage, chairman of the Felixstowe Resort Regeneration Steering Group.
"This event is only a couple of weeks away but he had still not finalised key details like where it was going to be held."
At a meeting with police, Suffolk Coastal and the chamber of trade and commerce officers this week, it became clear that Mr Arbon was still not able to produce a site management plan or proof of insurance cover.
There were a number of concerns raised by the council following last year's
event and officers from Suffolk Coastal met last summer with Mr Arbon to suggest how the show could be improved. However, there was no agreement that part of the show could move to the Convalescent Hill car park.
"At no time has Mr Arbon ever had the official go-ahead from Suffolk Coastal to use this car park for motorbike trials. At last week's meeting he was given two options – to use the same site as he had used for the last three years, or to hold different attractions along the resort," said Mrs Savage.
"He has chosen to reject both options – that of course is his right, but to then blame Suffolk Coastal for not giving into his demands to use Convalescent Hill is ridiculous.
"Of course we want to attract and keep events that draw in visitors but we have a duty to make sure they are safe, well-planned and managed, and don't cause problems for local residents.
"Only Mr Arbon knows the real reasons for the decision. I can only confirm that once again Suffolk Coastal was ready to bend over backwards to enable this event to continue as it did with the recent Jubilee event.
"The council does not make any charges for this event because it raises money for charity and we are bitterly disappointed and amazed that our efforts have been thrown back in our face.
"We are ready to work with Mr Arbon again in the future but he will have to show a commitment to properly planning an event well in advance and that has not been on display this time."
The council said it offered the use of Wireless Green and Herman de Stern car park and prom for the bike trial, bungee jump, 13 classes of show bikes and trade stands as in previous years.
The alternative was to hold the bike trial at Herman de Stern, show bikes on the prom with some small trade stands outside the leisure centre, and the bungee jump and larger trade stands on Pier Bright.
Mr Arbon said Wireless Green had been unsuitable because there was no electricity, no toilets, no bars and restaurants nearby, and it was too far from the centre of the resort.