Last week the Whitstable Carnival Association wound up after almost 130 years running a Carnival in town. Whilst, a small group of local residents have come forward to try and ‘reboot’ an institution many have recently complained is outdated, it is important to note that those people who volunteered their time for so long cited the increasing red tape forced on them by the council as one of the reasons they couldn’t continue. Tellingly, we lost our Regatta two years ago with the Whitstable Lions citing similar concerns.
Labour believe the Council should enable and not hinder a local people wanting to organise events. In Herne Bay a council led partnership pulls together businesses, community groups and supporting communities to plan events and promote tourism. As a result it’s annual festival (Bayfest) is a month long showcase of local groups, not a two day event run by a London based promoter. The whole town benefits when local groups are properly supported.
If the council took more of an enabling role, many of the problems associated with insurance, fire safety and road closures could be dealt with in house. County and National funding could be identified early and we we wouldn’t have to see local volunteers who want to run a Christmas lantern parade expected to provide detailed terrorist evacuation plans for a high street which has no doubt already been assessed multiple times.
If elected, Labour would work to launch a town development partnership and strengthen the financial support available for a ‘Back the Bay’ alternative for Whitstable. I’ll personally follow the attempts to relaunch the Carnival with some interest and hope the council can support, not undermine, people who want to make our town a vibrant home to events we love.