Richmondshire District Council has agreed £100,000 of the money it set aside for next year’s Tour de Yorkshire should be spent on boosting festivals and community events to mark Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
All but one of the leading members of the authority, which is due to set its final budget ahead of a single North Yorkshire local authority being formed, agreed to recommend to a full meeting of the council on December 7 to continue to use the funding for events that draw visitors to the area.
However, the authority’s corporate board hit deadlock after hearing almost as many views as it had members over how the funding should be distributed, with calls that all 54 parish and town councils in the district should benefit.
Council leader Councillor Angie Dale said the unexpected windfall coming from the cancellation of next year’s Tour de Yorkshire should be enjoyed by the whole of Richmondshire “rather than just the cycle route, which is generally what has happened in the past”.
Members were told it had already been agreed about £200,000 of the £305,000 allocated amid controversy to deliver the Tour de Yorkshire and a Yorkshire-wide festival should be ploughed into specific community projects or activities.
They voiced support to use some of the remaining money on offering grants of up to £5,000 for large-scale events such as the Dales Dark Skies Festival, Richmond Christmas Market or Mid-Summer Bash at Hawes as they benefitted the local economy and promoted community engagement and participation.
They also backed a plan to offer communities funding to hold street parties or produce commemorative items to mark the jubilee, to see the district’s communities come together over an extended bank holiday from Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5 next year.
However, Councillor Richard Ormston questioned whether any of the events would be dependent on a district council grant. He said: “I would prefer the £100,000 to go towards our £408,0000 budget deficit for next year.”
When asked whether the funding was the only “bite of the cherry” to support jubilee events, the council’s finance boss Sian Moore replied: “It’s certainly something we will need to consider in the context of the overall budget. There are reserves there. You need to prioritise what you use your reserves on.”
Nevertheless, Councillor Richard Good said discussions were already under way in numerous parishes about staging events for to mark the jubilee and that any offer of funding would be well received.
Councillor Helen Grant added: “I think it’s important that we show people that we’re all open for business, we’re all ready to celebrate our uniqueness, and doing little and big events will show that clearly.”