Fears for funding may threaten Ironbridge Gorge festival

Telford | News | Published:

Plans for a World Heritage Festival in the historic Ironbridge Gorge look likely to be toned down amid funding fears.

Talks are under way over whether a festival should go ahead this year, with Gorge residents divided on the question.

Councillors at last night's Gorge Parish Council meeting heard there were concerns over the festival's cost, which last year reached £50,000.

Telford & Wrekin Borough Councillor David Davies told members sponsors would have to be found. However parish councillors said they did not have enough money in the council kitty to help fund the festival.

Councillor Davies said: "There are different views at the moment on the festival since some people think we should not have a heritage festival, with one reason being funding.

"It cost about £50,000 last year and we have not got that. I have been arguing we should have a festival. It's positive. It may be different and may be scaled down but there are lots of things we can do and nothing has been decided.

"My view is most residents enjoy it and it attracts people in. There are some vociferous people who do not like it but, in my opinion, they are the minority. Funding is a problem and Telford & Wrekin will provide some. It is a case of getting different people to contribute."

Councillor Davies told members the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust would be taking a larger part in organising the festival while one of the crucial issues was traffic planning.

Last year the World Heritage Festival, held in September, saw week-long celebrations in the Gorge, which had a mixed reaction from residents who were concerned about road closures.

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