Weymouth council plans to axe kite festival and fireworks

A lizard kite at Weymouth Kite Festival
Image caption The two-day International Beach Kite Festival has been running since 1990

Tourism will suffer if plans to axe Weymouth's kite festival and some of its summer fireworks displays are approved, retailers fear.

Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce (WPCC) said the cuts would mean fewer reasons for people to visit.

The borough council said the move would save more than £20,000 a year.

The kite festival's popularity had declined and the fireworks had failed to attract sponsorship or financial support recently, a spokesman said.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council said by axing the two-day International Beach Kite Festival in May it would save about £9,200.

By reducing the number of summer firework displays, which take place every Monday in August, to one during Weymouth Carnival, it added it would also save £11,300.

'Roaring trade'

Mark Blunden, president of WPCC, said businesses in the town were "concerned".

"These events are very well attended, they give people an added reason to come into the town," he said.

"The more of them that are cut the fewer reasons there are for people to visit, which over time will affect trade."

David Hiscutt, owner of the seafront's Rock and Fudge Shop, said: "We extend our opening times on a fireworks nights and do a roaring trade.

"Axing them will definitely have a knock-on effect on business and staffing."

The council's management committee has recommended the approval of the plans, as part of the 2014/15 budget cuts.

Ian Bruce, head of tourism and culture at the council, said the authority welcomed interest from other organisations or businesses to take over the events, or to propose new ones.

The council will discuss the proposals at a meeting in December and a final decision is expected to be made after a public consultation.

In a report, the council said it was currently involved with more than 260 events in Weymouth and Portland, and added tourism was worth £160m each year to the local economy.

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