A CAMPAIGN has been launched in a bid to persuade councillors to re-think a decision to cancel Peterlee’s Bonfire Night celebrations.
A Facebook page has been set up called “Make Peterlee bonfire night happen 2014” after news broke last week that the plug had been pulled on Guy Fawkes Night this year.
Within just one week of being set up, the page has attracted 120 likes and its founder, Michael Wilson, hopes it will force a u-turn by civic chiefs, who say the decision has been made on health and safety grounds.
Michael said: “After I read the story on the Hartlepool Mail website I was just shocked.
“It’s only once a year it brings everyone together, not just from Peterlee but all the surrounding areas.”
The 21-year-old warehouse operative, who lives in Edenhill Road, Peterlee, added: “I made the page to see if there were other people as disgraced as me.
“I’m hoping to get as many likes as possible to get the town council to notice.
“I can remember going to see them every year and want to be able to do the same with my little boy.”
Michael, who has a partner called Cody Addison and a son called Michael junior, has also emailed council clerk Jane Russell, who says she will report his concerns to the next town council meeting in June.
In his letter to Ms Russell, Michael wrote that he had lived in Peterlee all his life and he can remember going to the bonfire event as a child.
He wrote that he thought the decision to cancel was “out of order” as it brings the community together and he would like them to reconsider.
Peterlee Town Council leader, Labour councillor Bill Jeffrey, told the Mail last week the decision was due to health and safety fears linked to congestion caused by cars.
But Free Association for Independent Representation (FAIR) councillor Andrew Watson had rubbished this, claiming it was due to cost-cutting and he expressed concerns that residents would put their own safety at risk by staging their own fireworks displays and bonfires.
The event, held at Helford Road, is said to cost between £4,000 and £7,000 to stage.
Michael said: “It’s got to be money, its not health and safety they could easily have traffic wardens up directing traffic out, there’s three ways out.
“What happened to the money that was made last year selling all that food and the lights for the kids, I thought that went towards the money for this year’s?”
He urged as many people as possible to like the Facebook page in a bid to show the council the strength of feeling.
No one was available from the town council to comment.
l It’s your vote: Page 8