Richmondshire District Council – which sparked controversy after approving a plan to spend £ 305,000 of taxpayer money to support an international cycling race – must consider proposals to spend it instead to boost festivals large-scale affected by the pandemic or to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Major members are expected to consider three options for spending £ 100,000 of the funds following the cancellation of next year’s Tour of Yorkshire.
The authority’s board has already approved the allocation of much of the remainder to its Community Investment Fund, which can be used by communities to deliver local climate change projects or results.
When the authority approved the injection of an additional £ 100,000 into the cycle race in June, some members said they wanted to support the event as they wanted to see an extended Yorkshire festival, heralding the food and drink of the Yorkshire, arts and culture, heritage and music, run alongside the race.
Nonetheless, senior advisers said the funding was needed to support existing festivals in the district after the pandemic or to support community-based cycling programs.
An officer’s report to the board on Tuesday shows how the cancellation of the Tour of Yorkshire has left a void in the district council’s plans for a major community event next year.
As one of three potential programs for £ 100,000, agents presented plans to support up to 20 full-scale festivals, such as Leyburn 1940s Weekend, Swaledale Festival, Whit Weekend in Richmond, the Catterick Christmas Fest or the Wensleydale Show, with up to £ 7,000 to give them a boost after suffering losses from the pandemic.
The report states that such a program “would bring a significant benefit to the local economy and positively promote community engagement and participation.”
Another option members will consider would be to support the organization of 133 festivals and small-scale community events throughout the next year.
The final program being presented would see up to 100 communities wishing to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year, with grants of up to £ 2,000.
The report states: “These events are likely to be very small-scale or community-based activities that will have minimal broader economic impact. “
However, sources at the council indicate that the workload involved in processing a large number of treatment requests could see the latter two options discarded by counselors, as agents are already faced with many tasks due to the reorganization of local government and requests for the Community Investment Fund.
The authority’s spokesperson for strategy, Councilor Philip Wicks, said each of the options had strengths and weaknesses and as far as he was concerned there were “no favorites.”
He said: “Support for the Tour de Yorkshire has been quite divisive. However, we thought that a larger Yorkshire celebration as part of the Tour de Yorkshire was a good idea and this is where this suggestion to support festivals in Richmondshire arose.
“It is the commitment to the community that seems important to us. It allows the community to celebrate in different ways. This is a positive development as we hope to come out on the other side of the pandemic. It’s a way of trying to get back to normal.