ORMSKIRK Motorfest 2022 has been cancelled after Aintree Circuit Club withdraw their support for the event.
This year’s event was due to have taken place on Sunday, August 28.
Reacting with sadness to the announcement, Ormskirk councillor Adrian Owens placed the blame firmly with the Labour cabinet of the Borough Council.
Aintree Circuit Club who organise the event, said the following in a statement on social media: “Following a meeting of the directors of the Club, faced with the continuing complications and unnecessary delays in obtaining further approvals, that are beyond our control, and which could have been avoided by the local authorities, places us in an unacceptably exposed position, with no guarantee that the event can obtain outstanding approvals within the remaining timescales.
“We have therefore taken the decision to withdraw our support for the event.
“The reality is that these unnecessary delays (over six months) in making key decisions regarding funding and event safety, hasn't left enough time for road closure consultations re the Temporary Traffic Regulatory Order, which we assumed would be rubber stamped, given the number of times (9) the event has previously been very successfully run!
“We realise that a huge number of residents, local businesses, participants, event sponsors and supporters will be terribly disappointed but we consider it is in all our best interests to make this decision now rather than at the last minute.”
Cllr Adrian Owens added: “In May 2021, without the proper procedures being followed, the Labour cabinet wrote to Aintree Circuit Club withdrawing all future council funding for the event. When I learned about this in July 2021, as Scrutiny Committee Chairman I pointed out that this council “decision” could not be made in the way it had. A private decision with no cabinet report or opportunity for scrutiny was not acceptable. A Council Director then had to write to Aintree Circuit Club setting the record straight and reversing the original funding cut decision. However, it is against the background of hostility from the Labour Leadership that the Motorfest organisers have for many months now tried to finalise the arrangements for this year’s event. They tell me they have been met with silence from the senior Labour councillors they have contacted.
“It’s a fair view that when Labour didn’t win a majority in this May’s elections that would have allowed their Leadership to cancel Motorfest outright, they resorted to an alternative. They have used bureaucracy instead to ensure that the event could not take place. The public have a right to know about the decision made by the Labour leadership in May 2021 to cut all future funding to Motorfest. The Labour leadership should have had the courage of their convictions to debate the matter in public at that time but they didn’t, preferring to keep everything quiet. Perhaps this was because many of their own councillors wouldn’t agree to the funding cut. Indeed, all the Labour backbenchers on the scrutiny committee supported some continued funding of the event at our last scrutiny meeting. The ruling Labour cabinet then rejected the committee’s proposals. Now through the cloak of bureaucracy, they have stymied this year’s event leaving thousands disappointed and a day that boosts West Lancashire removed from the calendar.”
West Lancashire Borough Council responded: “We are aware that Aintree Circuit Club (ACC) has cancelled Motorfest this year.
“ACC is responsible for organising the event and they would need to liaise with Lancashire County Council's Highways Department on road closures.”
West Lancashire’s Labour group has been contacted for comment.