MEMBERS of a classic car group say they are “disappointed for Hartlepool” after a council-run facility where they have held regular events for the last eight years has been booked by another attraction.
The Northern Bygones Society normally holds one of its classic car shows – which attract hundreds of people from around the country – in the car park of the Hartlepool Maritime Experience, which is owned by Hartlepool Borough Council, on a Sunday in April.
But when organisers contacted the council to ask for Sunday, April 27, as the day for this year’s Spring event, they were informed that all Sundays in the month had been booked up and paid for by a company which runs car boot sales.
The disgruntled group was offered any Saturday in April to hold the popular event, which shows off around 300 historic vehicles, but they have declined and decided to hold the event at The Locomotion at Shildon, in County Durham.
Northern Bygones Society member Ken Rigg, 67, of Croxton Avenue, Fens, Hartlepool, says the town will lose out on hundreds of tourists coming to the show.
But a council spokesman said the car boot sale company booked the Sunday slots before any contact was made to the local authority by the society.
He said: “The classic car shows are always very popular and they bring visitors to the town, so it is disappointing that the Northern Bygones Society has decided to go elsewhere.
“However, we informed the society towards the end of last year that it would not be possible for them to stage a show at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience car park on a Sunday in April 2014 due to the fact that a car boot sale was already planned for every Sunday in the month.
“We did, however, say that we would make every effort to accommodate them at some other time and we offered them the pick of Saturdays during the month.
“The society declined the offer, saying it did not wish to hold the event on a Saturday.”
Ken, a dad-of-two and grandad-of-one, who has previously shown off his Triumph Spitfire at the car show, said: “It’s a real good thing for the town the car show, it attracts hundreds of people from around the country.
“How many people go to a car boot sale compared to a car show?”
He added: “We do it every year in April and September and it’s always on a Sunday, the council knows this.
“We’d love another organisation to offer us a place to show off the cars so that Hartlepool doesn’t miss out. It’s a shame that we’re having to go out of town.”
Anyone who can suggest an alternative free town venue to the group should email www.northernbygonessociety.org.uk