A popular fireworks event has been cancelled amid a row over the timeframe given to make it work in line with safety advice. 

John Carrick, chairman of the Friends of Swanton Morley Church which organises the village's annual Fireworks Spectacular and Breckland councillor Helen Crane, have clashed over the event's ability to comply with Breckland’s Safety Advisory Group (SAG) guidance, ahead of the event on November 4.

Mr Carrick said the display, which has been running for the past 14 years, would have been cancelled due to a waterlogged field at the village hall, and with a poor weather forecast.

More than 1000 people were expected at the event.

Dereham Times: John Carrick, chairman of the Friends of Swanton Morley ChurchJohn Carrick, chairman of the Friends of Swanton Morley Church (Image: Neil Didsbury)

However, the committee decided to pull the event as it could not supply information to Breckland’s Safety Advisory Group (SAG) in time.

SAG is made up of several stakeholders, including the police, fire brigade, council, and supporting agencies - and is chaired by Breckland.

Mr Carrick claims the SAG requested information such as the event’s evacuation plan, and fire risk assessment 17 days before the event was set to take place, despite the form saying they needed this 28 days prior.

“I had no problem with providing any of this as we take health and safety very seriously, and we could have given it all if we had been given a suitable time frame,” he said.

“Although I thought it was achievable, the committee decided it was not, and we needed to give our contractors and suppliers plenty of warning. The Breckland Health and Safety Officer was very helpful and tried all he could to get the event on, it was just too late.

“We are just disappointed that Breckland put this on us with such short notice, but the public has not lost out because the event would have been cancelled anyway.”

Dereham Times: Helen Crane, executive member for licensing at Breckland CouncilHelen Crane, executive member for licensing at Breckland Council (Image: Breckland Council)

Cllr Crane, who is the executive member for licensing at Breckland Council, added: “The Breckland SAG, offers free and supportive advice to organisers of sizeable events in the area to support them hold a safe event for residents and visitors.

“In the case of this particular event, the event safety plans were unfortunately provided late and incomplete and while the SAG continued to offer advice and a deadline extension, members of the organising committee felt they would be unable to put sufficient safety plan details in place in time and made the decision to cancel this year’s display.”

Dereham Times: Roger Atterwill, Swanton Morley Parish ChairmanRoger Atterwill, Swanton Morley Parish Chairman (Image: Archant)Roger Atterwill, Swanton Morley Parish Council chairman, said: “As a parish council we are disappointed to hear the events committee has decided to cancel the firework display, especially after support has been provided by Breckland Safety Advisory Group. 

“As a parish council we want to support events that bring our community together, but the top priority has to be having the correct safety measures in place to keep everybody safe."

Mr Carrick added that he is already working to make sure the display returns in 2024.