Councillors agree to axe Derbyshire Food and Drink Fair

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A long-running annual event celebrating Derbyshire’s food and drink producers is to be axed.

Derbyshire County Council agreed to scrap the Derbyshire Food and Drink Fair at a meeting last week.

The fair, which was launched by the council in 2002 to showcase county produce, has previously been held at Bolsover Castle, Hardwick Hall and Elveston Castle, attracting thousands of food and drink lovers.

The axe will also fall on the Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards, which took place for the first time at Chesterfield FC’s Proact Stadium in July.

In 2014, the fair and awards cost the council £33,000.

The council will instead use £20,000 to provide support to Derbyshire’s food and drink sector through other ways, including promoting the county’s markets.

Councillor Barry Lewis, leader of the Conservative group on the council, said: “This is a most unwelcome Christmas present for the Derbyshire food and drink economy.

“The county’s food and drink industry benefits enormously from these key events.

“To end these exceptional events is short-sighted and will impact negatively on Derbyshire’s economy.”

Andy Darlington, editor of Taste the Seasons magazine, added: “I would urge the council to consider this decision very carefully indeed.

“Derbyshire’s food and drink industry is booming again after decades in the doldrums.

“We cannot allow such a massive backward step to be made.”

A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council – which needs to save £157million by 2018 – said: “We’ve been running the fair for 12 years and in that time a large number of other food and drink fairs have started, grown and proved highly successful.

“We now feel we would be best using our resources to support these events across Derbyshire rather than supporting our own single fair.

“Similarly there are also other food and drink awards and we feel that we could spend the money to support the food and drink sector in a better way.”

A report to go before councillors states: “Both the Derbyshire Food and Drink Fair and Awards have proved popular over recent years as specific events to promote the industry and attract

visitors.

“However, despite progress being made, both events require considerable resources in terms of budget and staffing to deliver.”

A petition has been set up to try and save the Derbyshire Food and Drink Fair.

Sign it at www.thestickybeak.co.uk/petition.asp