No love lost over Newcastle parade

12 Jul 01
Newcastle upon Tyne is a city riven by divisions. On one side are hip Labour councillors ready to plough as much as £488,000 into a youth culture event, the Love Parade.

13 July 2001

On the other, the usually permissive Liberal Democrats are siding with the police over fears of rampaging drug-fuelled revellers.

The parade, organised by the BBC and expected to be Britain's largest city dance music festival, has sparked major controversy in the city. The Labour-run council, which approved the July 21 event this week, is arguing that it will attract up to 250,000 people, bringing £12m–£14m into the local economy.

Members also claim that it will help in the city's quest to become European Capital of Culture in 2008. 'We are keen to break down the barriers that define culture,' a council spokeswoman said. 'We want to introduce youth culture into our bid.'

The BBC is putting £2m into the event and the authority £125,000. Of that, £34,000 could come from a European Union grant, an extra £32,000 from the BBC and £40,000 from Newcastle's festivals budget. This leaves £19,000 to come straight from the council's coffers. The police have also stipulated that there must be a Park-and-Ride scheme, which will cost another £332,000.

The council concedes it is taking a financial risk and will need a 79% take-up of the scheme just to break even.

Local residents, LibDem councillors and the police have campaigned against the festival, which also coincides with a Newcastle United match.


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