Fleetwood Festival of Transport worth £3 millions to town

A long-running transport festival in Fleetwood which now incorporates an additional arts spectacle is bringing an estimated £3million into the local economy, it has been calculated.

Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 6:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 6:54 pm
Tram Sunday, including the colourful SpareParts parade, is a major boost to the Fleetwood economy, say organisers.

Organisers of the Fleetwood Festival of Transport say the figure, in simple terms, is based on the number of visitors from outside the town who come into Fleetwood and spend money on the day.

But the coordinators of the event, known as Tram Sunday, say local shops could do more to support the event, given how much it boosts local trade on the day.

Derek Eaton, financial director of Fleetwood Festival of Transport CIC, said: “When we approach local businesses for small donations, only a handful are prepared to help.

“That is disappointing when so many benefit from it.

“It would be great to get more support because it is huge for the town.”

However, one shop owner, who did not wish to be named, commented: “I do make a small contribution, but local businesses do not get all the benefit, there are portable burgar vans and ride operators who take a lot of the money.”

Members of the team who co-ordinate the event spoke of the festival’s value to the area after receiving a grant of £3,518 from Fleetwood Town Council to cover the cost of road closures and extra toilet facilities on the day.

The council agreed to grant the funds in order to support the annual event, known locally as Tram Sunday and which takes place this year on Sunday July 21, after receiving an application from the organisers. Although the popular transport festival has been running in the town for more than 30 years, for the past five years it has included the SpareParts Festival, an ambitious element involving the arts and an eccentric transport-related parade and street theatre.

Last year’s event is calculated to have brought more than 60,000 people into the town.

Mr Eaton added: “We are obviously very grateful to receive this money from the Town Council, it is crucial.

“The financial situation of the festival is complicated because although the SpareParts aspect is funded separately by the Arts Council of England, the Fleetwood Festival of Transport makes a £5,000 donation as part of that funding agreement.

“The Arts Council funds allow SpareSparts events to also be held in Crewe, Nantwich and Oldham as part of a wider project.

“But without the support of Fleetwood Town Council, it would be harder for us to support SpareParts and have it in Fleetwood each year.”

Dave Carlos, operations director for Fleetwood Festival of Transport, said: “We have a detailed evaluation report which looks at last year’s event, including SpartParts in Fleetwood, and it is clear from that just what the event brings to the local economy.

“When you include people from within the region, people from outside the region and the amount they spend, coupled with the expenditure from our investment partners and other factors, it all adds up to just over £3 million.

“When people come to Fleetwood for these combined festivals, the amount they spent on food, drink and other items really adds up.

“The benefit of this event to Fleetwood is very considerable.”