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BLACKHEATH: Greenwich Council pulls out of fireworks display
RESIDENTS will have to foot part of the bill for Blackheath’s firework display this year after Greenwich Council pulled its funding.
The £120,000 annual show is normally jointly funded by Lewisham and Greenwich Councils along with around £60,000 in sponsorship from the GLC asset management company.
Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock is now appealing for funds to make up the £26,000 shortfall but refused to criticise his neighbouring council’s decision.
Sir Steve said: “Lots of residents clearly like going to the fireworks and there’s a very strong argument that it’s actually a positive thing. It means people aren’t letting off fireworks in their back garden.”
But he admitted, though Lewisham Council has committed funding for this year’s display, money for future shows was not guaranteed as the council needs to make around £60m in savings over the next three years.
Conservative ward councillor Cllr Alex Wilson claimed jeopardising the display was putting public safety at risk and would be detrimental to the area’s economy.
He said: “I think Greenwich Labour have been looking for an excuse to stop paying for their share for years.”
A Greenwich Council spokesman said the decision was taken “reluctantly” and blamed the need to find an estimated £70m in savings due to government spending cuts.
He said: “The council is committed to maintaining front line services and has a strong track record of identifying efficiency savings, which has enabled us to freeze council tax in six of the last 12 years. "
To donate to the Blackheath Fireworks Appeal visit lewisham.gov.uk/fireworks or call 020 8314 3007.
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