Don't stifle drive

PUBLISHED: 10:24 09 September 2011

I wish to respond to last week's letter from Mr Green, expressing his objection to the closure of the Manor Gardens for private functions.

We can count on one hand the number of times the gardens are used “privately” each year and, on such occasions, I understand they have previously relied on collection-box donations.

On a purely financial footing, this does not work; hence the very small number of privately-funded ‘events’ that are hosted there and the subsequent loss of occasional amenity to Exmouth’s residents.

The sad reality is that, given the option of paying to attend, many will thoroughly enjoy the event, but contribute little or nothing – either physically or financially.

This results in either a loss-making event, (with no prospect of the organisers returning) and/or, quite probably, a low-budget act for fear of sustaining substantial loss. A good visual example would be the many people standing outside the rugby ground’s gates on November 5 and not contributing.

Mr Green is not completely alone, as there have been a small number of objections to the closure; not to the event, but from people expressing their ‘right’ to access for 365 days per year.

I do ponder just how many people will actually be inconvenienced in having to re-route for their planned constitutional walk on this day; against the number of people (up to 2,000) who will be there to enjoy what has taken many months and over £10,000 to plan and organise; all in consultation with the town council, the local police, environmental health, the fire service and East Devon District Council - the owners of the land.

In the unlikely event that there are any profits, donations are being made to a local charity. With not a penny of public money supporting such an event, how do the objectors believe that it will be paid for – or do they care?

Unless revenue is raised to pay for such events, the residents of Exmouth and its visitors would go without.

The public still have a choice; pay for it, participate and, hopefully, enjoy it, or don’t, but please don’t attempt to stifle those of us who have the drive and capacity to organise such things; Exmouth needs ‘positive’ support, not ‘negative’ dissent.

George Nightingale

(via email).

NB: I would like to express my gratitude to the town council, EDDC, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and The Journal for their invaluable support and assistance throughout the application for “Party In The Park” on September 17.

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