Organisers fear council fees will sink street gala

A POPULAR city festival faces an uncertain future after community leaders raised fears over council fees.

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The Gibson Street Gala, in Hillhead, is due to celebrate its 10th anniversary next year.

However, there are concerns that the gala, which attracts thousands of people each year, will be axed because of the cost of renting out facilities and putting road closures in place.

Organisers say they were charged £3000 to close Gibson Street on June 2 this year, £800 to rent out Hillhead Primary, and other costs.

They are calling for support to help communities stage events.

Gala secretary Eric Kay, who is an Evening Times Community Champion, said: "The council should be encouraging greater community involvement.

"But small groups can't afford charges like these. This is about a small-scale event for families"

Around 50 volunteers helped plan and run this year's festival, which featured live music, stalls and children's entertainment.

They are planning a bumper event next year for Glasgow 2014.

Mr Kay, 63, from the West End, said: "Next year is a big year for Glasgow and we want it to be a great year for us too.

"We've already started to plan it for June but we're in a bit of dilemma over if it can go ahead.

"We have been trying for some years to establish the clear policy - and we still don't know."

The complaint came as local councillor Martin McElroy, who is the chairman of the Gibson Street Gala, put forward a council motion yesterday to congratulate the West End after it was awarded the Great Neighbourhood Award from the Academy of Urbanism in London.

Mr McElroy said: "The Gala is a great part of the West End's programme of events and I will be doing everything possible to make sure that it goes ahead again next year.

"The Academy of Urbanism Award is another acknowledgment of just how special our community is and I know that the council will be doing everything it can in the future to nurture community run events. This needs to include a fair charging policy."

A council spokesman said: "Whenever roads need to be closed due to an event it is necessary to charge the organiser for the closure.

"Due to financial pressures the council is unable to focus money on road closures."

rachel.loxton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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