Wilmslow Town Council has agreed to continue to support the Wilmslow Show and provide a grant to enable the 106th show to be held next year at its new venue which has resulted in significantly increase costs.
Last year the show relocated to Carnival Fields after 16 years at Wilmslow High School, which was prone to flooding, where it was allowed free use of the playing field. Holding the show in its new home has resulted in a considerable increase in cost. These include the cost of hiring the field from Cheshire East Council which is £650 plus £1000 deposit and the hiring of traffic management staff which CEC insists on, increased security, barriers, the cost of a shuttle bus for the Park and Ride and higher insurance rates as a consequences of cancellations due to bad weather.
To increase income, the show committee has agreed to increase entrance charges for the first time in 12 years. Adult tickets which have been £5 will be £7 if bought before the day and £8 at the gate, concessions which were £2.50 will be £4 in advance and £5 on the day and family tickets which were £12, will be £13 if pre- purchased and £15 on the day. Children under 5's remain free.
The show committee is also taking steps to lower costs, which include revising the number of competitions, reducing the size of the marquees and taking out the lighting in the horticultural marquee which saves £1500.
Councillor Frank McCarthy, who has been chairman of the show for the past 15 years, said "This is one of those things that is historic, probably for the past 50 to 60 years people have been bringing plants and things to the show up until about 10 o'clock on the Saturday night and this has involved putting lighting to do that. It's felt that the cost of lighting is such that it will not be an expectation that anybody to bring plants to bring them before it gets dark."
Councillor Angela McPake, who takes over as chairman of the show next week said "I think it's worth saying, one of the main focuses of our conversation has been about making sure we're doing stuff to help ourselves, just because we've always done it the same way doesn't mean we should always continue to do it the same way. So whether its reducing costs or upping income from the various stands - mindful of the fact we've got a community element to what we do which is obviously the free stalls we give to the charities on behalf of the town council.
"The committee would like the entrance to be free but the reality is we can't afford to do that but we think we can stand a small increase. We are quite keen that we continue to be able to offer free activities to people once inside with the intention that once you are in you don't need to spend any more, if you are on a budget. The fact that donkey rides and dog show were free and there were quite a number of activities for young children that were free is important to us."
She continued "I am fairly upbeat about the sort of conversations we have had about how we can continue to husband our costs and hopefully make it pay for itself better but we are not close to that at this stage."
To increase income, the show committee has agreed to increase entrance charges for the first time in 12 years and is also taking steps to lower costs, which include revising the number of competitions, reducing the size of the marquees and taking out the lighting in the horticultural marquee which saves £1500.
Last year Wilmslow Town Council provided a grant of £6500 and Councillor Keith Chapman suggested that they provide the same amount this year, rather than the £10,000 requested saying "Otherwise the show is actually amounting to 15% of our entire budget for this kind of activity and I just think it is far too much in terms of our overall spend."
Councillor Viveene Brooks said "I do feel that should give the Wilmslow Show our support and back it with the money because we've already cancelled now the Party in the Park, which was free for the people of Wilmslow, and I do feel it is a community event and as the Town Council we are duty bound to support it and make it a success."
Councillor David Jeffreys said "I don't want to be misinterpreted because I do want to support the show and I want it to go ahead. All I am saying is in future years we should cash flow projections, you just base it on a budget and say Wilmslow Town Council will make up the shortfall but at the moment the £10,000 is arbitrary."
Councillor Viveene Brooks added "I am disgusted with Cheshire East Council that they are charging us to hold a community based event that is principally the local people volunteering their services."
Town Councillors all voted in favour of approving the grant application for £10,000 to be used to meet the costs of the 2018 Wilmslow Show, with the exception of Keith Chapman who voted against and David Jeffreys who abstained.