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Street party 'is at risk'
PRIDE organisers say plans for a ticketed street party could be in jeopardy if all local businesses don’t give their full backing.
Brighton Pride bosses insist a new wristbanded system is necessary to ensure that the street party in St James’s Street is safe.
But rebelling venue owners in the street say they won’t pay towards the costs of the security.
Other opponents have questioned the legality of the road closure and are threatening legal action.
Organisers say they want to avoid a repeat of last year’s event where more than 30,000 revellers were estimated to have flocked to the Village Street Party putting attendees at risk of harm.
This year revellers will be asked to buy £5 wristbands, £1 of which goes to charity, to enter the party with security barriers closing off an area around St James’s Street and Marine Parade.
Roads will be closed from 4pm on Saturday August 2 to 3am the following morning and then 2pm to 10pm on Sunday August 3.
Venues and retailers within the barriers are being asked to only sell alcohol to wristband holders.
But The Argus has learned some venue and shop bosses are balking at having to pay hundreds of pounds towards security measures.
One manager who wished to remain anonymous said: “We were told at the meeting that it will cost £50,000 for security this year, but they are hoping for up to 18,000 wristbands to be sold with £4 each paying for security.
“So why do they need our money as well? Either it’s wristband funded or it’s business funded but not both.
“We would rather give the money we usually pay towards the street party, which we have supported very generously in the past, to a charity of our customers’ choosing instead.”
Former Sussex Police officer Stuart Bower plans to launch judicial review proceedings should the road closure go ahead, claiming the shutting down of the Queen’s highway was illegal.
Brighton Pride director Paul Kemp said he needed 100 per cent support from all licensed businesses and shops or Pride would have to “reconsider its position”. He said: “At the moment we are delighted to say that 95 per cent of local businesses are on board and have agreed to sell the wristbands which will help pay for the extra infrastructure costs this year and help raise money for the Rainbow Fund.
“We urge everyone else to join us in working towards a successful, sustainable and safe Pride Village Party in 2014 and a successful Pride in 2015.”