Thursday, May 7, 2015

News: Sun setting on Rotherham by the Sea

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The traditional Rotherham by the Sea event in Rotherham town centre is set to be scrapped by Rotherham Council.

The annual event has been running for the last 12 years and consists of transforming All Saints' Square into a beach - with 10 tonnes of imported sand, striped deckchairs and family entertainment - for a week during the school summer holidays.

The event attracts around 2,000 attendees over the week, attracting a core group of visitors each day.

It started out as a two-week event but has been a one-week event since 2005, with an exception of 2014 when councillors agreed to extend to two weeks for one year only following a 406 signature petition. The additional costs were covered from the Leader's special projects fund.

Now a council report has highlighted that the nature of the event puts increasing pressure on both council staff and the Police to supervise the area. It adds that, whilst businesses in the immediate vicinity of the Square report additional trading during the week, businesses in other parts of the town have said that it has zero effect on their trading.

The report adds that there is relatively little support from the businesses for Rotherham by the Sea, which costs £7,400 out of the £27,024 available to be spent on events.

Marie Hayes, events manager at Rotherham Council, said: "The Rotherham by the Sea event has run successfully for many years but, given the success of other styles of events which have been tried in the town, it is an opportune time to review the summer events schedule.

"It is proposed to replace this event with a different activity for one day each week during the school summer holidays. This would be over a period of five weeks, avoiding the August Bank Holiday week when many potential visitors are on holiday.

"A decision to end Rotherham by the Sea in its current form will impact on past visitors. However, the proposed remodelling of this kind of event and extension of other successful events in the town centre will ensure a vibrant and varied events schedule."

If approved, one event set to take place this Summer is a Vintage Hop. Over 2,000 people attended the event when it was first held in November, celebrating the 40s and 50s with vintage fairs, cars, harmony singers and jive dancing.

Feedback from businesses was positive, with many reporting a rise in footfall and sales and the Vintage Hop was deemed as the most successful event of the year in terms of attracting new customers and spending in the town.

Money saved by not staging Rotherham by the Sea is also set to be used for a Christmas event as town centre businesses place a great deal of importance on the December trading period.

With government-appointed Commissioners overseeing Rotherham Council, Councillors, local people and other interested parties will be invited to have their say on the decision - known as "minded-to" proposal – and a final conclusion will only be reached once their views have been taken into account.

Rotherham Town Centre website

Images: RMBC

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