Fireworks display may have to move due to safety concerns

Crowds at Bradley Stoke Fireworks Display 2010

The Bradley Stoke Fireworks Display, held annually at the Jubilee Centre, may have to move to another site if health and safety concerns arising from the large attendance cannot be resolved, the Town Council heard last week.

Crowds at the event reached five to six thousand in 2009, when numbers were swelled due to the cancellation of the popular Clifton Downs display and similar numbers were seen at this year’s renewal.

Cllr Mark Forsyth, Senior Health and Safety Officer for this year’s event, warned that the event had “become too successful for its own good”, adding: “We could have ended up with a ‘situation'”.

Bradley Stoke Fireworks Display 2010

Councillors heard that the need to keep crowds off the public roads surrounding the venue led to a potential over-crowding issues within the car park of the Jubilee Centre.

Although the artificial pitch at the site had been made available to spectators, there were insufficient marshals to guide people in there, claimed one Councillor.

Summing up, Cllr Forsyth said:

“With my health and safety hat on, I wouldn’t do it again. That’s my professional advice.”

Options discussed for resolving the issue included rearranging the site layout, so that access to the venue could be properly controlled, or moving the event to another site.

Suggested alternative venues included the grounds of Bradley Stoke Community School and the Trench Lane car boot sale site.

It was eventually agreed that a meeting be set up in the New Year between the firework company, the event management company and Council officers.

This year’s firework display raised approximately £3,800 for the Mayor’s charity, St Peter’s Hospice.

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  1. I thought i did read the whole article, i forgot too click the bit to read the rest, it has been a long day today!
    It would be good to have it at BSCS get more people there.

  2. There’s nothing wrong with the Jubilee Centre site – it just needs to be better used. We were stood on the artificial pitches to watch the display and it was almost completely empty, despite numerous PA messages that they were available. (It was a perfect place to be as well!).

    We did note, however, that they only had one entrance open and it was difficult to get to because everyone else was (for some reason) stood in the car park blocking the way.

    If they opened up both ends, stationed some stalls/fast food inside at the rear and kept a cordoned thoroughfare to it, they could get another 1,500 people in there.

  3. BSCS would be a good option as long as it was properly marshalled. People could park in Tesco and have a safe walk across the crossing, instead of trying to cross Brook way.
    I agree with Bert that the Jubilee Centre site is fine, it just needs better marshalling. We stood on the field behind the building, next to the new play equipment. there was lots of room there and a really good view of the fireworks. The courts were empty, but people could not get to them.

  4. We can hide most things behind Heath and Safety to understand properly that point needs explaining it is not enough to say H&S is the reason, why is it? If it is access along Savages Wood Road and then to Willows and Beeches, we have lived in The Willows for 8 years, and closing the road seems the sensible solution. We are advised weeks in advance of the event and know the timings, for most that works. There does seem to be the few that try to drive in or out just as the fireworks are about to start which does seem rathar barking. This year the Fire Engine parked up in the entrance to The Willows. If it is just because the all weather courts weren’t utilised enough that is different and may need a rebalance of where marshalls are deployed. I think Bert and FC are on the money here.

  5. No one is trying to hide behind H&S, nor be alarmist, but the simple fact of the matter is, the current format is no longer a ‘Safe’ option if something goes wrong. The Jubilee Centre can be accessed from a variety of different routes and sadly there are a number of people, who no matter how many times you tell them, believe they have a ‘god given’ right to do as they chose and just wander in and around, ignoring the marshals. The only way that entry and exit could be effectively controlled, is through the use of fencing, which is costly to install and would increase the cost of staging the event. Contrary to Bert’s comments, all entrances to the hard courts were open, but people chose not use them. We were also fortunate that the weather was such that the firework ‘drop area’ did not infringe on any of the viewing areas’s, as it has in previous years. What you also have to take into consideration is that if there had been an ‘incident’ that required either the marshals or emergency services to deal with quickly, this may not have been possible given the crowd numbers and locations.
    No one wants to spoil the fun, but as the person who had overall responsibility for this year’s very successful event, I would not volunteer to do it again, based on the current format. It is not the residents who would be stood in front of the judge, but yours truly.

  6. A shame that there are second thoughts about the fireworks, for the sake of the selfish few.
    Trench Lane is a non-starter, several thousand cars descending on a muddy field……let’s think about that for a second, it would be our own version of Glastonbury!
    The current location is fine, it needs better marshaling and more understanding by the public.

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