Tar Barrel organisers 'disappointed' as crowds avoid car parks

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:00 07 November 2019

Ottery Tar Barrels 2019. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Ottery Tar Barrels 2019. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Organisers of Tar Barrels say they have to fall back on charity fundraisers for next year's event after 'disappointing' support for paid parking on the night.

Ottery Tar Barrels 2019. Picture: Alex Walton PhotographyOttery Tar Barrels 2019. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Attendance was lower than in previous years after two of the event's paid parking sites - the Ottery Football Club and Barrack Road - had to be closed due to poor weather.

Event organiser Rob Wickham said some visitors opted to walk from West Hill or Gosford to avoid paying the charges at the remaining three car parks - Otter Garden Centre, Finnimore Industrial Estate and Strawberry Lane - when spaces were available.

Visitors are charged £10 to use the car parks, with proceeds going towards the cost of the event and local causes.

Mr Wickham said as a result, the event's committee would 'without a shadow of a doubt' have to fundraise to make the event go ahead next year.

Ottery Tar Barrels 2019. Picture: Alex Walton PhotographyOttery Tar Barrels 2019. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Mr Wickham said: "I am disappointed with the general public to be honest and the way they avoided the car parking.

"We still had the capacity to take cars in but some people decided to park out in West Hill which caused issues up there. People parked at Gosford, just to avoid the £10 parking.

"Without a shadow of a doubt we are going to have to raise quite a bit of money next year and look again at the parking issues we were faced with this year.

"We understand it's a free event but we still need to raise money and to keep all these areas clear if we have a major accident.

Ottery Tar Barrels 2019. Picture: Alex Walton PhotographyOttery Tar Barrels 2019. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

"It's an ancient tradition and we want to keep on doing.

"We have to pay for the insurance and putting the event on the costs are massive."

He said he had been 'disappointed' by coach companies attending the event for not following directions provided by the committee. He said investigations had begun into why this happened.

Mr Wickham added he was pleased with the way the event was handled.

Ottery Tar Barrels 2019. Picture: Alex Walton PhotographyOttery Tar Barrels 2019. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

He said: "I'm really happy with how the event ran in the town. The actual event itself and the barrels went extremely well.

"The crowd were a little lower because of our parking issues this year."

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