Bike show lost to Felixstowe

FELIXSTOWE today lost one of its biggest attractions – as organisers pulled out of the resort after being told to move venue with just two weeks to the event.

By Richard Cornwell

FELIXSTOWE today lost one of its biggest attractions.

Organisers have pulled the annual motorcycle show out of the resort after being told to move venue just two weeks before the event was due to take place.

It is a massive blow for seafront traders, who were looking forward to bumper business from the event. Many had ordered extra stock.

Up to 20,000 people attend the motorcycle show, and this year it was to have been held on the main seafront for the first time.

Now it will take place on July 14 at the Suffolk Showground in Ipswich instead, after tourism chiefs told organisers "on yer bike" and move to a new venue.

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Suffolk Coastal offered the bikers Wireless Green as an alternative after suddenly saying the show – which raises funds for East Anglian Air Ambulance – could not be staged on the prom between the leisure centre and Spa Pavilion.

It is understood the council is facing a legal wrangle with residents over the staging of events on the seafront after complaints about noise from attractions such as travelling fairs. It is gearing up for a court fight, which it feels could be jeopardised if the bike show is held.

If the council loses in court, it will put an enormous question mark over the future of many of the resort's events and the use of the seafront.

Les Arbon, the organiser of Felixstowe Motorcycle Show, said it was "extremely sad" the show was leaving the town – and admitted it was unlikely to return.

He said: "After last year's show, the council came to us immediately and asked when we would like to stage it this year. They asked us to move it to the prom between the pier and Spa.

"We were delighted – and so were the traders in that area.

"This is the main part of the seafront, where all the visitors come, and we wanted to make this year's event bigger and better than ever.

"But now they have come to us and told us it can't take place on the prom because of the pending court case.

"They offered us Wireless Green, but it is totally unsuitable. We have had no option but to move the event and Suffolk Showground have been brilliant and very, very helpful.

"I am extremely sad and disappointed that the Felixstowe Motorcycle Show will not be held in Felixstowe, and I am particularly sad for the traders.

"After our criticism of the council last year, they had been very helpful this time – but we spoke too soon."

Mr Arbon said Wireless Green was unsuitable for the show because there was no electricity, no toilets, no bars and restaurants nearby, and it was too far from the centre of the resort.

The motorcycle show, which features 13 classes and attracts thousands of bikers from all over the country, features bike displays, a cavalcade, trade stands, live music, funfair, sideshows, aerobatic and trials bike demonstrations.

Camping will still be at Trimley Sports and Social Club (booking via Les on 07880 976788 or Michelle 07702 053046) and there will still be a live show by Sparrowhawk at the club on July 13.

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