Two major events made homeless by the financial collapse of the West Mid Show have found new locations in the town for 2010.
The Shropshire Federation of Women’s Institutes has sealed a deal to hold its county show – which has been held at the West Mid since 1951 – at Shrewsbury Flower Show. The WI show – with the apt theme of ‘On with the Show’ – will be housed in the Dingle marquee with floral exhibits.
And organisers of Shrewsbury Folk Festival have told the Chronicle they expect to hold their event in August at Shrewsbury Sports Village in Sundorne after positive discussions with Shropshire Council.
Festival organiser Alan Surtees said if the venue proved to be a successful one they would seek to sign a five or ten-year agreement to hold the event at the venue. The folk festival first moved to the town in 2006 and has been held at the West Mid Showground for the past three years.
It’s a major boost for both events, which have faced weeks of uncertainty following the financial collapse of the Shropshire and West Midlands Agricultural Society.
A creditors’ meeting is due to held in Birmingham today, Thursday, to discuss the finances of the failed society and whether creditors will receive any of the £160,000 believed to be owed.
Pauline Greenhough, chairman of the Shropshire Federation of WIs, said: “We are going to be at the Flower Show next year.
“We are absolutely delighted to have got things sorted and we hope this will be a good shop window for us as people come from all over the country for the Flower Show.”
Mr Surtees said although he was continuing to talk with the owners of the West Mid Showground, uncertainty over the status of the lease was preventing preparations for next year’s event from going ahead.
He said: “We intend to wait a little while to see what is happening with the West Mid Showground and we will have to see who takes the lease on. But I’m not sure if anyone will take the site on as it’s in a state of disrepair, and I can’t see anything happening quickly enough to allow us to make plans for next year.
“It’s more likely to be at Sundorne Sports Village quite honestly. Shropshire Council has shown us tremendous support and their estates department has been looking for sites of a suitable size for the festival.
“I think the sports village would be a huge upgrade for us as a festival venue with facilities like showers and a sports hall. If we can put a suitable agreement together for the sports village we would enter into a five or ten-year contract.”
By Peter Kitchen