Bonfire threatened by St Mary's masterplan

Warwick's annual charity bonfire will go ahead this year despite worry that changes at St Mary's Lands could threaten the event's future.

Thursday, 7th July 2016, 2:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th July 2016, 3:32 pm
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But a permanent future at the current site is still yet to be agreed as council officers debate their latest ten-year masterplan for the space.

The annual town bonfire and fireworks night is held each November in the car park adjacent to Warwick Racecourse off Hampton Road.

Part of this site at Racing Club Football Club is now fenced off to allow for a new sport pitch as part of ten-year improvements to the lands.

As a result, worry has spread over what changes mean for the charity event - run by Warwick Lions and Rotary clubs - and if they will need to find it a new home.

Jackie Crampton, secretary of the bonfire committee, said a meeting was due on Friday with safety officials at the district council where the all-clear for this winter is expected to be granted.

But until final plans for the lands are decided and released, uncertainty remains for future years.

She said: “A considerable area of this space has been fenced-off for the new pitch but this will not affect us this year, we hope.

“We have been assured that things can go ahead and in fact, it does not mean any loss of space for getting people in.

“The issue could be in the final plans and future years. We made representation to the consultation and are asking the council for answers.

“We hope to all work together and that this will not be a problem. But we will know more in the coming weeks.”

The masterplan consultation ended last month and all responses will now be considered before things progress.

It is hoped decisions will find a new future for the lands and its many users with cycle paths, new pitches and entrance improvements.

The bonfire has been running there for 30 years and brings in around £20,000 for local good causes.

Around £5,000 is spent on fireworks for the display and for the first time in 2015, the show was set to music to encourage more visitors.

The event is planned for November 5 with free parking.