A taste of the seaside won’t return to Kettering’s Market Place this summer because a popular event won’t be funded.
Pre-pandemic, hundreds of families enjoyed Kettering by the Sea with children playing in a giant sandpit and taking part in a host of free activities.
NNC won’t be funding it, instead handing ‘smaller’ events over to town councils. But the decision came too late for Kettering Town Council’s budget to stretch to covering the cost of doing so.
Opposition councillor Clark Mitchell said: "It’s the sort of thing that the people of Kettering enjoy and it brings people into the town. It’s good for businesses, it’s good for pubs, it’s good for shops.
"Many people can’t afford to go away with the cost of living rising and having a free seaside event with a sandpit, even if it was just for a week, would have helped so many.
"To not be able to put it on this year is really disappointing.”
Kettering Town Council say NNC told them earlier this year that they would not be funding the event, but their budget wasn’t large enough to include it in their events programme by then. They say they had already set their precept and the work required to set it up with limited staff resources couldn’t be achieved in time.
An overall estimate for putting on the event was likely to be £25,000 if it was held over four weeks. The town council intends to put a ‘by the sea’ event on in 2023.
North Northamptonshire Council leader, Cllr Jason Smithers, said: “North Northamptonshire Council and the new town councils have had meetings to discuss the organisation of local events. It was agreed that North Northamptonshire Council will focus on the larger, area based events and the new town councils would focus on the smaller events that are more unique to individual towns, such as Kettering by the Sea.
“North Northamptonshire Council have offered guidance, advice and some assistance for events being handed over to town councils. Operational decisions on whether these local events go ahead is however a matter for the town councils.”