Greenwich pulls out of Blackheath fireworks

Greenwich.co.uk has confirmed that Greenwich Council has cut its support for the Blackheath bonfire night firework display, which previously it had joint-funded with Lewisham Council.


It quotes a Greenwich Council spokesperson as saying:

The Council has reluctantly taken the decision not to fund the event this year, having been advised to anticipate up to 40% cuts to its grant, representing some £70m when the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review is published on 20 October. The Council is committed to maintaining front line services and has a strong track record of identifying efficiency savings, which has enabled us to freeze council tax in six of the last 12 years.

If we'd spent a little less time trying to think of a punning headline when we first reported it, and a little more time reading Lewisham Council's initial release, we might have spotted Greenwich Council's absence and the conditional nature of Lewisham's commitment. Blackheath Village is the focal point for the revellers so if there are commercial benefits for local businesses from staging the event, then Lewisham borough, rather than Greenwich will be the main beneficiary, which may explain the difference of opinion between the two councils.

It's not clear whether the fireworks will be cancelled if the public don't donate enough money or if Lewisham Council's commitment and the private sponsorship already secured will be enough to stage a serviceable event in any case.

Before the Blackheath firework display was established, when Brockley Central was a boy, we used to go to the display at Kidbrooke House, in Westcombe Park, which was organised by that area's equivalent of BrocSoc - the Westcombe Society. A smaller, but more fun event than the Blackheath show, it cost a few quid to get in and was therefore killed off when the free Blackheath show was introduced. If Blackheath can't now survive without public donations, then perhaps we will see the return of events organised by local societies. We'd much rather pay to support a small event on Hilly Fields, even if the bangs were less impressive.

The other thing we missed out last time was the link for anyone interested in donating to the display.

30 comments:

Bob said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tracy said...

I have mine done by a munkjack but on the subject of the fireworks, yes I would much rather we had them at Hilly Fields!

Jimmie said...

Why would you need a discreet cleaner to clean your building?

Do they solve problems like The Wolf does?

Anonymous said...

Its so easy to cut things like this, museums, libraries etc... first as they are viewed as unnecessary spedning, rather than cut the vast wastage at the Town Hall which is clear for all to see. I hardly use any public services (can't think of any Council provided ones actually) but this is one of the few things I felt I actually received back for my £30k annual income tax bill...

Anonymous said...

If you pay 30k annual Income Tax surely you can afford your own display.

Tressilliana said...

Anon - think about what you have just said. Your council tax pays for your bins to be emptied, the pavements swept and repaired, the roads repaired and a contribution made to the cost of running the Metropolitan Police, flood defences and the London Fire Brigade. You also benefit more indirectly from the fact that the local youth are being educated and families who might otherwise be in real problems are getting some help from social services. You may well feel that Lewisham Council is not doing as well as you think it should be (although based on what you've said I wonder how much connection you have with your local community and therefore how you are judging this). But to say that you are getting nothing back for your taxes is just silly.

Matt-Z said...

@ Anon 11:44 - People often claim never to use public services, when in reality they do all the time. I bet you use loads of Lewisham Council services without even thinking about it e.g. bins, streets, pavements, streetlights, CPZs. And there will be many that go on around you in areas such as planning, trees, environmental health, licensing, fly-tipping etc. All of which serve to make a better environment around you.

That said Bullock's attempt to keep the Blackheath fireworks is a good thing - it is nice to get something like this back from the Borough.

Matt-Z said...

^^^ Tressilliana beat me to it. Great minds etc etc.

Mb said...

And of course if and when you get old using council services may shoot up. My Tory voting dad suddenly had barnet fit hand rails, offer of help cleaning, transport etc.... It's the vulnerable who will suffer most.

darryl said...

I felt I actually received back for my £30k annual income tax bill...

Last years' fireworks cost Lewisham and Greenwich £35k each, I understand.

love detective said...

In addition to what has already been said in response to anon @11.44 - a somewhat wider view to take on this is to look at what the main activity/objective of the state is.

This is primarily the protection of people and private property from threats within and outwith of the state's boundries. Tax revenues (and borrowing against future tax revenues) are the primary means of funding those activities of the state, and the vast accumulation of state resources/infrastructure, i.e. judicial & legal infrastructure, enforcement, police & military, etc..are the means by which those activities are carried out

Therefore the more you have (wealth, property etc..) the more you effectively make use of these vast array of resources that are designed to protect against transgression. This, more than any liberal crap about 'fairness' or ability to pay, is the real basis for a progressive taxation system. Even Adam Smith recognised this and saw the necessity of progressive taxation to ensure that those who made the most usage of the state's infrastructure contributed the most to it

So the reality is actually an inversion of what 'popular' individualist based perception is - it's not the poorest who are the biggest 'drain' on society it's the richest

love detective said...

"Last years' fireworks cost Lewisham and Greenwich £35k each"

those are some dear fireworks

Ian said...

Hilly Field fireworks could be great, and would generate busines for the Orchard, Brockley Mess, Jam Circus etc. I would much rather go to a smaller local display for local people than one of these big flash affairs.

Anonymous said...

But could one on Hilly Fields be kept to on a smaller scale,every free event seems to gather large crowds.Would be good though.

Anonymous said...

But could one on Hilly Fields be kept to on a smaller scale,every free event seems to gather large crowds.Would be good though.

Brockley Dogging Society said...

"Pulls out"

"Blackheath"

Nick - are you trying to give us a dog whistle?

Ed said...

I think I have half a pack of sparklers spare from last year...

Moira said...

We had fireworks at the closing night of B Max 2007
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acd3xc80ZQE

I'd love to do them again but they'll cost at least£5000 for the display shown on the video.

DJ said...

The great thing about Hilly Fields is that from the top you can see
firework displays from all over.
For nowt.

Tamsin said...

Likewise Telegraph Hill. The one at the end of the Thames Festival was the best part of an hour.

I suspect that the days of the small public display are over. As Moira has said, it costs a fortune and the crowd control, risk management, health and safety, etc. on-costs are pretty huge too. The electronic media are so efficient now that the crowds at any free event would be uncontrollable.

When my husband was young his father and some neighbours in the village used to stump up for fireworks every year and a local farmer would torch one of his hayricks and a great time was had by all, whether or not they had contributed. It could not happen nowadays.

Anonymous said...

So....Lewisham has also pulled out of the Blackheath fireworks, unless the public stumps up £80,000?

Any chance of clarifying the council's position, for example what happens if only £40,000 is raised?

If each ward gave £5000 from it's Mayor's fund or locality fund, job done?

Anonymous said...

Reading THE LINK it would seem the fireworks cost something like £120,000.

With the sponsor, Greenwich and Lewisham contributing a third each.

It would seem Lewisham Council HAS pulled out of the fireworks as well.

Guy Fawkes said...

If only Jim'll Fix It was still on TV.

Oaksys said...

If the fire works were held on Hillyfields there is a patch of ground recently levelled and surrounded by metal fencing which would provide an ideal level base for the display.

Instead of providing entertainment for a few cricket players it would at least provide a useful service to the majority of Brockley people.

There does seem to be a sacrificing of popular highly visible events "because of the cuts", by both Lewisham and Greenwich councils. Yet some of the sacred cows still seem like the cricket pitch seem to survive.

Brockley Nick said...

I don't play cricket but I'm looking forward to watching it being played there in the summer.

Fireworks on top of the hill worked really well for the MAX.

Monkeyboy said...

A once a year spectator event should take priority over a facility that can be used all summer by a local club? Sports clubs build cohesion, whether or not you actually play.

Remember, remember said...

The cricket isn't from council or central government funds though is it? Somewhere along the line, there was a post on this. Wasn't it a long term labour of love from local resident with a little vision? He has made multiple grant applications and the like.

Is lots of the cost for fireworks for the police? It seems to be escalating with every post. If the public are beginning to donate, then surely it has to be on in some form. Otherwise will the council reimburse my £1?

Brockley Nick said...

@Remember Remember - you are right, the cricket square is not a Council-funded project.

Mb said...

Actually I think you're right. There is lottery and ECB funding involved? Bring it on.....

Anonymous said...

There will be plenty of Fireworks when leather hits willow.

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