Greenwich Council snubs Blackheath fireworks once again


Weeks after blowing £500,000 on a tall ships festival, it’s emerged Greenwich Council has declined to pay its way for this year’s Blackheath fireworks for a fifth year running – leaving Lewisham Council to fundraise for the event again.

Greenwich withdrew its £37,000 share of funding from the event in 2010 with then-deputy leader Peter Brooks claiming it would be “inappropriate in this financial climate” to fund the event, which takes place right on the border between the two boroughs.

Lewisham has continued to hold the event, which attracts up to 100,000 people and boosts trade to local businesses in Greenwich, Blackheath and Lewisham.

But despite its best efforts at fundraising, last year’s display lost just short of £30,000, leading Lewisham to approach Greenwich for funding.

Despite Greenwich’s deputy leader John Fahy backing restoring funding to the display, it appears the tall ships have taken priority.

With Lewisham losing 33% of its funding over the next three years, the £100,000 display is unlikely to survive without help from Greenwich.

For a relatively small cost, Greenwich leader Denise Hyland could have demonstrated her council really had entered a new era. Sadly, it seems nothing has changed at Woolwich Town Hall.

Greenwich Time, 23 September 2014

By an unfortunate coincidence, Hyland is pictured on the front of this week’s Greenwich Time propaganda newspaper with Lewisham Council’s nemesis, hospital-threatening health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Oh dear.

17 comments

  1. clogsilk

    Good on Lewisham for sticking with it. Yah boo sucks to Greenwich. We should take our ball home and move it to Mountsfield Park for good. Bah humbug.

  2. Dimps

    Hundreds of thousands of people attend the fireworks each year, boosting trade, raising awareness of the locality and ensuring the safety of countless families. What tiny fraction of Greenwich residents are invited to the annual Mayor-fest at the ORNC? I wonder how the Council would feel, should a substantial number turn up outside next June to share their sentiments with the highly favoured invitees.

  3. runner500

    Totally agree, a much better location for more Lewisham residents, although it would probably end up being a pay for event if it happen because entrance is easier to control than Blackheath.

  4. Richard

    Greenwich council is being allowed to free ride. Lewisham should call their bluff and move it to another park.

  5. EssKay

    As a Greenwich resident (and tax payer) I’m embarrassed by this.

    Greenwich council seems to easily find hundreds of thousands of pounds for corporate vanity projects like the tall ship festival and junkets for council management, but can’t put in their share for a widely appreciated, collaborative public event like this?

  6. Peter

    Greenwich council’s activities (or lack thereof) regularly make me feel sick with digest. Thanks for always holding them to task Darryl

  7. John Norman

    Hey my councillor (Peninsular) who ever you are (if there is one now) – could you have a talk to your colleagues at Greenwich?
    Please could we have a little less spent on tall ships and be able to contribute our share to Blackheath fireworks?

  8. Amanda

    It worries me but I am becoming more disenchanted with our Boroughs leaders as each day passes. I am beginning to think ‘Vote Labour – get more austerity’ In this case the austerity is the Councils unwillingness to chuck a few quid in the tin for the Blackheath Fireworks. I mean its not like Greenwich is broke – they have considerable financial reserves but it would appear they prefer to bless their business chums with favours – while we go, embarrassed, to the fireworks knowing our Council is more representative of its business friends than local people.

  9. fahy

    Amanda is simply wrong. Council accounts are published on the Council website for all to see. All reserves are for allocation in this and future years.

  10. Darryl

    John, if Amanda is wrong, could you point us to a document which shows where the cash held in reserve is going to?

    We know Woolwich Crossrail will eat up a lot, but the full extent of the council’s obligations has never been shared.

  11. fahy

    Audited accounts are on the Council website. Very happy to take you through the accounts. Give me a call when you are able to come in.

Hello! If you've read the post, please join the discussion below...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s