Council ‘reluctantly’ cancels Bonfire Night event at city park

Nottingham City Council has today announced the cancellation of its Bonfire Night and fireworks display.

The popular annual event, organised in partnership with Mellors Group Events, was due to be staged at its regular home of the Forest Recreation Ground on Friday 5 November.

Other large-scale Bonfire Night celebrations around the country have already been cancelled for 2021, including Leeds, Glasgow, Cambridge and Brockham, in Surrey – said to be the largest of its kind in the south east.

Bonfire Night usually attracts around 40,000 people to the Forest over a five-hour period and concerns remained over Covid safety given the static nature of the crowd, where people are packed together and less able to remain socially-distanced.

Unlike some cities which host a Bonfire Night celebration within a gated venue, like a sports ground where numbers can be controlled, access to the Forest is completely open.

The Council and Mellors Group would not be able to safely manage visitors on and off the site, which was a large part of the difficult decision to cancel Goose Fair in August.

Councillor Eunice Campbell-Clark, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council, said: “We’re really disappointed to have to announce the cancellation of the Bonfire Night celebrations, which we know are valued by so many in the city.

“It’s one of our most popular free events and we understand people will be disappointed because it follows on from other much-loved attractions being cancelled over the past few months.

“Public safety is the over-riding factor in our decision-making and when all options were considered it was felt – like many other towns and cities across the country – that reluctantly we could not ensure a safe event with such large visitor numbers.

“Bonfire Night brings together a large, and often static, crowd in an open environment which is difficult to control and manage. We can’t regulate numbers attending and it would be extremely challenging to implement Covid-safe measures.

“We sincerely hope that the situation will be markedly different next year and we can bring this popular event back to the Forest.”

James Mellors Snr, Managing Director of Mellors Group Events, said: “It has been a tough decision to cancel Bonfire Night on the Forest this year, but we believe it’s the right thing to do at this moment in time.

“We hope everyone enjoys a safe Bonfire Night and look forward to coming back bigger and better in 2022.”

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