By Martin Walker
Members of Great Aycliffe Town Council have agreed to plan for a fireworks display in the town this year – providing the event meets safety criteria.
Safety officers advised the Town Council to cancel the 2013 event after it became “too large” to manage.
The council hoped to resurrect the display after plans were drawn up to help control congestion.
And at a meeting last week, the council agreed to go ahead and book the event.
But the County Durham Safety Advisory Group (SAG) will still have the final say.
A report following the Aycliffe meeting last Wednesday said: “Regarding the fireworks display, the Committee heard that the Safety Advisory Group is unable to meet with officers until 2nd July – too late to book specialist services such as the fireworks, PA etc.
“Officers described the measures they have taken – lighting, fencing, extra stewards, evacuation plans, ticketing etc – to meet the safety objections raised by the SAG two years ago.
“In the expectation that these measures will satisfy the SAG, councillors agreed to book the firework display.
“This will be lost money if the SAG again refuse to sanction the event, but not to do so would have meant that the Fireworks Display could not have taken place this year.”
Popularity of the event at Oakleaf Leisure Centre rose after nearby displays in the county were cancelled.
The event, which had been held for about 30 years, was attracting nearly 16,000 visitors.
Organisers feared they were unable to “safely manage” the display last year, following the large attendance in November 2012.
A meeting was held with SAG, which raised issues including controlling numbers and traffic management.