Organisers of the popular VW event Beach Buggin', that takes place annually on Southsea Common, have confirmed that the event will not be taking place.
Commenting on social media the organisers have cited a breakdown in communication and unrealistic demands by Portsmouth City Council's events team as the main reason the event will not be taking place this year.
In a Facebook comment written today on the Event's official page the organisers said: "We need to let you know that Beach Buggin' 2018 will not be going ahead.
"Following the meeting with Portsmouth City Council Events Team back in September 2017 we both came away from the meeting with exactly the same impression — that the values of the show would be undermined by the new constraints Portsmouth City Council (PCC) want to put on the show and the show would not continue in its present form. They have rated us a large show (i.e. the same size as Victorious Festival) and therefore there will be a huge increase in costs because of the various hoops we are being asked to jump through as well as a massive increase in the bureaucracy that brings. At the end of the day our very simple and successful formula (some VWs parked up in a field showing off!) would be completely turned on it's head."
Beach Buggin' event organisers went on to explain their upset at PCC's 'vetting' process for potential charities the event could assist, and also that the chosen charities would have to be located in a PO1 to PO6 postcode only, meaning that many of the charities the event has helped in the past would not be allowed to participate or receive benefit.
The statement also raised concerns that PCC had additionally stated that any car parking attendants used would need to be fully qualified to operate, and that the Hayling Island Scout Group, who have previously assisted the event parking, would not be allowed to run this task for the event anymore.
Event organisers were also unhappy at the indication from PCC that the event would need to be a gated event going forward as this would completely "change the atmosphere and show dynamic".
Please reference the full Facebook post here for complete text: https://www.facebook.com/groups/beachbugginfans/permalink/10156378765999396/
In response to the public Facebook post by Beach Buggin' organisers, PCC have issued a press statement as follows:
Portsmouth City Council was disappointed to learn today that the popular VW event, Beach Buggin', will not be returning to Southsea Common this year. This is a popular event and many local families attend it each year. The last contact the council had with the organisers was in September 2017. In spite the council emailing the organisers in October, there has been no contact until an email was received today.
Cllr Lynda Symes said: “Portsmouth City Council has no objection to money being raised for charity, including those outside of the city such as the Rowans Hospice or Scout Groups based in Hayling Island."
"The event has grown in popularity and numbers of people attending the event is now in excess of 5000. We have to make sure adequate safety measures are in place. Last year there were issues including vehicle movements directly adjacent to the War Memorial on the seafront. Clearly this is a very sensitive area of the common, and we need to ensure the area is properly managed. The council has not requested a gated event, the fact the event is open and not fenced in, works well. We did however request that the War Memorial was sectioned off with fencing.
"We are happy to offer support to the organisers to assist them with the background work required, including the preparation of the traffic management plans. We invited the organiser to a meeting to discuss safety plans and ideas.
"Portsmouth City Council hopes Beach Buggin' will meet with us as a matter of urgency and take up our offer of help so this popular event can continue."