Hopes flagship Festival of Flight could take-off

Hopes flagship Festival of Flight could take-off

7 February 2024

A CALL for the district’s premier flagship tourist event to be cleared for take off after being grounded since 2019 was issued at Monday night’s rates meeting.

Council officers have been asked to set up a working group to look at paving the way for the return of the international Festival of Flight which regularly featured the Red Arrows.

The event attracted over 100,000 people to the resort and provided a major economic boost for the the town and wider district.

Rowallane councillor Jonny Jackson – the leader of the local authority’s DUP members – tabled the proposal to establish the working group while he formally supported the decision to hike the district rate by 6.41%.

Cllr Jackson said his party was committed to securing the lowest possible rate, in the context of considerable external pressures, with a responsibility on parties to scrutinise, question and consider the decisions which directly affect the lives of residents across the district.

But he said the DUP could not in good conscience inflict cuts, no matter how minimal, on community and volunteer organisations which rely on financial support from the council via so-called service level agreements.

He continued: “We are all aware of the direct investment and economic value of these events and, for many, the Festival of Flight was seen as one of this district’s flagship events.

“Tonight, we take the opportunity to call on council officers to work to restore the event and propose forming a working group with focus on this event, the challenges and the pathway to seeing it returned,” he said.

Cllr Jackson said his party was confident that the new district rate protected vital council contributions to community projects.

The festival was grounded in 2019 due to a lack of cash, with Cllr Jackson hoping the creation of the working group will ensure it will be chocks away.

Last year, the DUP expressed disappointment that the international festival had been grounded, describing it as an “iconic event” for Newcastle.