Two of Burnham-On-Sea’s popular triathlon events have been cancelled following a big hike in the cost of road closures by cash-strapped Somerset County Council.
Burnham Swim and Sports Academy, which has overseen the events for many years, says they are no longer financially viable.
Speaking to Burnham-On-Sea.com, the academy’s Mark Cox Conklin said: “It’s so disappointing that the county council’s costs for our road closures is making these lovely events unviable.”
“We only need temporary closures of small sections of local roads in place for a few hours to ensure the safety of participants, road users and spectators. Without the closures, the events can’t go ahead.”
Burnham’s Sprint triathlon and Olympic distance triathlon events have been cancelled, but the April Super Sprint and Junior Triathlon in April, 2019 will go ahead as planned.
“Our long-running June triathlon event in Burnham had previously costed £800 for the road closures but this year the quote was £2,000 which led us to cancel the event. Sadly, we are scaling back the number of triathlons to a minimum because of this.”
He added: “We know the council is facing financial pressures, but it should be finding ways to increase income and reduce costs in other areas without affecting community events like this.”
A spokesman for Somerset County Council told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Due to reduced funding to local government and increased demand for services we have to consider all areas of spending carefully and this includes the costs associated with road closures.”
“Closing a road is a legal process and there are significant costs involved, including the requirement to advertise the closure in the local press. We do not make a profit from events – but we do seek to recover costs.”
“We encourage event organisers to contact us at the earliest opportunity to discuss what measures and costs may be required.”