£90,000 policing costs could challenge the future of Skandia Cowes Week fireworks
The future of Cowes Week fireworks may be challenged following a decision to begin charging for the costs of policing the event, organisers claim. Hampshire Police Authority wants to recover the £90,000 cost of patrolling the regatta. The organiser, Cowes Combined Clubs (CCC), says they will resist payment and are taking legal advice.
Tory MP for the island, Andrew Turner, was amongst those to condemn the levy, saying that if London’s Notting Hill Carnival could be policed without charge so too could Cowes Week, as neither are events from which the organisers seek to make a profit’.
As the highlight of the yachting calendar for many, the 180 year-old regatta attracts an annual turnout of 1,000 international competitors and many more spectators; it is estimated that 30,000 watched last year’s firework finale. The police authority is demanding £60,000 to cover patrolling costs and an additional £30,000 for the closing party.
Stuart Quarrie, the director of the CCC, said that the charges were not feasible; ‘We have not got an extra £30,000 to put into the fireworks. So either the council will have to pay, the police withdraw their proposal, we find a way of charging spectators or the tradition of fireworks to mark the end of Cowes Week is scrapped.’