A fan of the Kimberley pram race said the council has ‘sentenced the town to a slow death’ by ditching the event.
Simon Marriott said it was ‘beyond belief’ that Kimberley Town Council thought their alternative event to the pram race – a small parade followed by a fun day – would work, and said councillors had a ‘complete lack of understanding of local people’.
He said: “If the council had taken a straw poll of attendees of the pram race over the last 30 years as to whether their new proposition would be a viable alternative, they would have saved a lot of time and money on their advertising.
“It is beyond belief that they thought it would work and illustrates a complete lack of understanding of the local people,” he said.
Kimberley Town Council took the decision to cancel the traditional pram race earlier this year, saying the event had become too booze-orientated and they no longer had support from the local police.
Instead they arranged a half hour ‘pram parade’ followed by a fun day at a local park last weekend. But it was cancelled in the 11th hour after no-one entered.
Mr Marriott, who lives in Eastwood, said the event offered vital support for local pubs.
“Economically, the pram race was the best day of the year for all pubs and helped many cafes and shops as well. My fear is that two or three pubs will close over the next 18 months to be replaced by cheap fast food take-always and charity shops.
“To maintain this ridiculous stance on the pram race is to sentence Kimberley to a slow death.”
But the chairman of Kimberley Town Council Jim McDonald stuck by his decision.
He said: “We had a public meeting about the pram race where nobody turned up. In the months that followed we used every form of media to get support. At the end of the day it was just not forthcoming.
“We were ringing around people begging them to enter. This has to be something that comes from the community for it to succeed. It can’t just be about the town council. We can’t spend public money on people that might enter or might come along.”