Illumination fees frozen this year

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COUNCIL bosses have agreed to freeze the cost of the Matlock Bath Illuminations on the back of its success last year.

Derbyshire Dales District Council’s Partnership and Regeneration Committee made the decision to freeze charges for the 2012 Illuminations.

This year’s event is due to take place form September 1 to October 27, and will be kept at a cost of £4.50 for adults and £4 for over 60s, with free entrance for children under the age of 16, disabled people, carers and Matlock Bath residents.

Around 100,000 visitors flocked to Matlock Bath to see the world renowned illuminations last year, beating the previous year’s total.

The total cost of the 2011 event, which once again included a parade of decorated boats every weekend from the start of September to the end of October, plus four special clifftop fireworks displays on selected Saturdays, was £128,000 - and this figure was balanced by ticket sales, voluntary contributions from local traders, sponsorship and car park income.

Committee chairman, Cllr Albert Catt, said: “Derbyshire Dales District Council is delighted to be maintaining a long established tradition in Matlock Bath which dates back to 1897.

“As the illuminations were first staged to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, it’s a great time to be announcing that this popular event will go ahead again this year in the Diamond Jubilee year of Queen Elizabeth II.

“Thanks to improved stewarding, the 2011 event was slicker than ever and I hope we will be blessed again by good weather throughout this year’s festival to help us achieve our aim of providing a great boost for the Dales economy at no cost to our council tax payers.”

Speaking at the committee meeting, Cllr Irene Ratcliffe remarked that while she was pleased with the success of the event last year, she wanted to see new lights in place in the future.

“There is a huge amount of people who come and see this, so it’s something that we can be proud of,” she said.

“I hope we look to the future and put money aside and that the lights are something to see.

“The lights are crucial.”

Some councillors questioned whether the authority would be willing to apply to large companies such as JCB for sponsorship.

Paul Wilson, director or planning and housing services for the council, said: “The council has a sponsorship protocol to promote local companies.

“We will seek to promote local businesses and if that isn’t successful look elsewhere.”