Concerns have been raised that this year’s Ramsbottom’s Chocolate Festival may not go ahead – on health and safety grounds.
Conservative councillors claimed that Bury council has blocked plans for this year’s festival, due to be held over the weekend of April 8-9, to be held in the town centre due to overcrowding
The ever-popular festival, on Bridge Street, regularly attracts tens of thousands of visitors.
Ramsbottom councillor Rob Hodkinson said he had arranged an urgent high-level meeting with Bury Town Hall bosses in a last-ditch effort to ensure a site can be agreed for this year’s festival.
In a statement he claimed: “After a great deal of hard work and dedication by event organisers, plans to hold the festival on Bridge Street have been stopped in their tracks by the council on health and safety grounds due to overcrowding last year.
“Ramsbottom has quite rightly become the top ‘foodie’ town in the north west over the last few years. We have a tremendous number of good restaurants, gastro-pubs, tea rooms and independent shops selling a whole range of food.”
“We are so lucky that we have such a dedicated team of business owners and traders who work hard each year to put on this event.”
Coun Hodkinson added that no agreement had been able to be reached for other possible venues for the festival – including Ramsbottom Cricket Club and Ramsbottom Football Club.
Paul Morris, who owns the Chocolate Cafe and is involved in the festival, said if the event is cancelled it will have a big financial effect on the local economy.
He added: “Obviously, it’s a real shame if it goes. I’m not sure how we’ve got to this situation.
“It will certainly have a big impact on the local economy. A few years ago, the council did some projections that it would be worth over £200,000 to the area.”