Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Decision on grant for festival delayed

A REQUEST for an £8,000 grant by the organisers of Goring’s Gap Festival has been deferred

A REQUEST for an £8,000 grant by the organisers of Goring’s Gap Festival has been deferred by the parish council.

The trustees of the biennial arts event, which was launched in 2014, say they need funding as soon as possible before the 2018 festival so they can book guest speakers and performers.

Previous stars have included singers Georgie Fame and Ruby Turner and the organisers say such high-profile names must be secured well in advance.

They asked the council for two grants of £4,000 over each of the next two years but at a meeting on Monday, members said they weren’t in a position to consider the request.

They supported the event in principle but said the council’s finances were uncertain as it is preparing for a High Court challenge to plans for a hydro-electric power plant at Goring weir.

It has also committed to a £50,000 refurbishment of the pavilion at Gardiner recreation ground but wants to keep any increase in its council tax demands next year below two per cent.

Councillors agreed to consider the festival’s request when setting the budget towards the end of the year.

Councillor Catherine Hall said: “I am very supportive because I believe the festival improves the quality of life in the village. A huge number of people put in a lot of effort and the quality is phenomenal.

“We have a lot of sporting events and activities in the village but there was very little on the arts front before this came along. It corrects an imbalance that used to exist.”

Council chairman Kevin Bulmer said: “The issue is the amount of money being requested. It’s £8,000 of public money and I’m not comfortable agreeing this either way at this point. The amount of other things we’ve committed to but haven’t yet fully financed makes this difficult.”

The issue will be discussed again at the council’s meeting in December.

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