Spark in the Park fireworks display called off
Spark in the Park, a free Bonfire Night fireworks display in St Helens, will not take place this year.
In line with the rest of Merseyside and other local areas other, St Helens Borough Council has taken the decision to call off the event this year after assessing the potential impact it would have on public safety - with no free firework events like the annual Sherdley Park event taking place in the region.
Held in Sherdley Park, Spark in the Park is one of the biggest free organised fireworks displays in Merseyside which attracts thousands of visitors each year.
But without many other free large-scale activities like this taking place the council believe that thousands more spectators would choose to come to Spark in the Park.
In consultation with the borough’s Safety Advisory Group - made up of council services such as licensing, health and safety, traffic and event management, alongside partner agencies such as Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and North West Ambulance Service the council feels that the additional crowds would not be manageable and would pose a public safety risk.
The money allocated from this year’s show will instead be used to support diversionary activities within local communities to manage the anti-social behaviour aspects associated with this time of year, as well as funding smaller town centre events in the New Year.
Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, said: “We know how much our free events like Spark in the Park mean to the families that come out to enjoy them and this was a decision that wasn’t taken lightly.
"Sherdley Park is a great venue to host events like this and has done for many years, but we anticipate that thousands more are likely to turn out this year as there are fewer free activities like this in the region compared to previous years.
“As a council, along with our partners, we have a duty to make sure that our events are well managed and with the extra numbers we have concerns over the ability to deliver a high-quality event as usual.
“We're sad that we can't hold Spark in the Park this year but plenty of other exciting free events will be going ahead over the coming months – including Christmas, details of which we’ll share once everything is confirmed.”
St Helens Community policing Chief Inspector Paul Holden said: “We are aware that the decision has been taken by St Helens Council to cancel this year’s Spark in the Park event.
“Working with the council we have a responsibility to keep members of the public safe at all public events and while we understand that people will be disappointed with the decision but we would support the council.
“This time of year is traditionally a very busy time for us and we understand that people will still want to celebrate the Bonfire period.
“As with every year we will work with our partners at the council and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to remind people to stay safe and be sensible.
“Patrols will be out and about and my officers will be engaging with the local communities but antisocial and nuisance behaviour will not be tolerated and we will continue to take action where necessary.”
Paul Kay, Group Manager from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We would like everyone to enjoy the Bonfire period as safely as possible and ordinarily would ask people not to have their own bonfire and firework displays at home.
"However, with the annual Spark in the Park event not taking place, we know that many people in St Helens will be looking for other ways to enjoy the bonfire period.
“If you do have a bonfire at home, make sure there is enough room to do so and ensure that bonfires are well clear of anything that could catch fire such as trees, bushes, fences, sheds or gazebos.
"Fireworks should only be used by a responsible adult and they must follow the Fireworks Code at all times. You should only buy fireworks from retailers registered with Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.
“When you buy fireworks from an unlicensed seller, you are putting yourself and others at risk. Someone selling fireworks from their home, their car or at the pub does not have a licence.
"You might think you are getting a good deal but if it seems too good to be true, it probably is – counterfeit fireworks can seriously injure you and those around you.”