7 November 2013

Council could offer long-term ‘yes’ for big events

Some of Brighton & Hove's biggest events could get long-term permission from the city council to help them become bigger money-spinners for charities and the local economy.

A new report for the city’s culture committee recommends granting the Brighton Marathon and half-marathon five-year permissions, from next year to 2018.

Under the proposal, The London to Brighton Bike Ride and the corresponding night-time event would each get three-year permissions from next year to 2016.

And the popular cinema Screen on the Beach would also get three years’ consent, from next year.

Until now, such repeat events have had to secure annual approval from the council, covering things like use of land and road closures.

The committee is being recommended to OK the move as a way to help organisers with planning, secure better deals from contractors and sponsors, as well as cutting the bureaucracy involved in making repeat decisions.

However special planning teams involving the council and emergency services would still prepare in detail for each event.

Chair of the committee Cllr Geoffrey Bowden said:  “These events are hugely successful, boosting the local economy and, in some cases, raising very large sums for charity.  We know we want them back, certainly into the medium term, so it makes sense to reduce the number of decisions by extending their permission over several years.

“For example if we know we want the bike rides for many years to come, there’s no need to keep re-inventing the wheel.”

The report goes before the culture committee on November 14 for a decision.

The fourth Brighton Marathon last year attracted nearly 10,000 runners, boosting the local economy by £4.5m.  The Sussex Beacon charity Half Marathon, dating back 24 years, attracted similar numbers.

The London to Brighton Bike Ride, first staged in 1980, is the main fundraiser for the British Heart Foundation, with 27,000 entrants.  Five thousand riders take part in the night-time version.

The Screen on the Beach first appeared between the piers in 2012.  It proved a huge hit for fans watching the Olympics.  It is hoped the screen would be popular for the Rugby World Cup, in the UK in 2015.  Brighton’s Amex Community Stadium is among the competition’s venues.