Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth's bonfire saved from council budget axe

Bonfire Image copyright Oast House Archive
Image caption The council said the cost of security and safety measures for a bonfire was too great

Portsmouth's traditional 5 November bonfire has been saved after it was cancelled due to council budget cuts.

The city council said this week the annual fireworks display at King George V playing fields in Cosham would go ahead on Wednesday, but there would be no bonfire due to its £4,600 cost.

Conservative councillors had blamed the cancellation on the previous Liberal Democrat administration.

But a skip hire company has come forward to provide free firewood.

L&S Waste Management will also provide skips and grab lorries for the clean-up afterwards.

The firework event, which will cost nearly £20,000 to run, will be funded by the council, along with donations of £1,120 from transport company Stagecoach and local travel campaign My Journey.

A council spokesman said most of the cost of putting on a bonfire would go on security and safety measures, as well as buying "clean" wood - which has no harmful chemicals on it - and re-seeding the grass afterwards.

A Conservative minority administration has been running the authority since elections in May.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of the Lib Dems group, said the previous decision to cancel the bonfire was supported by every councillor, of all parties.

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