Clarification re withdrawal of support for Motorfest

Less than two months ago, West Lancs Council suggested that Aintree Circuit Club should pay for a public event, the Motorfest, from its own reserves, as the Council wasn’t prepared to provide ANY funding. We refused, and were prepared to walk away from the event.

As it stands, Aintree Circuit Club agreed to fund over 2/3rds of the cost of Motorfest via trade stands sales and some small sponsorship arrangements. This was in order to save the event, as WLBC claimed it no longer had the cash or resources to support the event. Additionally, at the June 7th Cabinet meeting, the Labour Group voted to provide ZERO funding for future Motorfest.

Motorfest has always been a Council lead and funded event with ACC acting as a service provider for defined delivery points.

All Motorfest costs have been for service costs either contracted directly by West Lancs Council, such as Road Closures, Traffic Management, Policing, safety barriers, car park closures, liaison with town centre businesses and residents affected by the road closures, some advance signage, car park closures, use of Council owned land and car parking at Edge Hill University or via ACC including

  • a dedicated website.
  • maintain, manage and run the website for the duration of the event.
  • event entry and vehicle management system.
  • provision of medical and safety staff and equipment including First Aid for the duration of the event.
  • event communications system.
  • provide sufficient marshals and stewards.
  • Production and maintenance of the Event Safety Plan,
  • Production and maintenance of the Event Risk Assessment.
  • Public Address system and commentators.
  • event catering.
  • event insurance and documentation.
  • event Motorsport Permit/Insurance
  • ensure all participating vehicles and drivers have all the necessary permits and licenses to participate,
  • procure all trophies and awards.
  • procure vehicle and participant number decals and security wristbands plus promotional materials.
  • manage all aspects of the organisation and running of the event on the day including vehicle logistics, arrival            and departure and running of parades.

Contrary to claims made by certain Councillors that the Club had received funding of the order of £150000, the maximum amount the Club has ever received to provide the above has been £7500/annum. This is documented in Council Minutes and contained within Service Level Agreements drawn up by WLBC. This amount was based on the actual costs of buying in these services and equipment for the first event in 2009 but have risen considerably as the event has grown but the Grant has remained static, with ACC having to fund up to an extra £4000/annum from income generation.  The majority of event costs (Road closures and policing) have always related to services that have been the responsibility of the Council and costs negotiated/agreed by them. Aintree Circuit Club has never levied any charge for its time or expertise and remains a not for profit, limited by guarantee organisation with any surplus’s used for reinvestment into Motorsport including the purchase of safety related equipment.

As has previously been stated, approval for Motorfest to run was not granted by WLBC ESAG until 14th June, which was already outside the normally accepted timescales for a road closure application to Lancs County. However, no issues were raised by the ESAG in relation to ongoing road works in Ormskirk or any unexpected delays in issuing the road closure approval.

However, Lancs County advised us almost immediately on submission of the application that the ongoing temporary relocation of the Bus Station stops and reserved road space would prevent them from granting the closure.

A further two weeks elapsed when it was revealed that there were further road works in Moor St that we were not aware would affect Motorfest.

After making representations to Lancs County, they then advised early last week that the application would have to follow their normal consultation processes, that would take at least until early August but could drag on until after the event if there were any objections.  They could offer no guarantees.

The Club was faced with potential unrecoverable sums of over £14000 if for any reason the event had to be cancelled at short notice, as there would be no event income.

This was a risk we weren’t prepared to take and hence our withdrawal of support.

The Council could easily have avoided this situation by using its own powers to arrange the road closures, as it did in 2019, but chose not to do so.