By Steve Carpenter Thursday 07 February 2013 Updated: 07/02 16:57
THIS year's Godiva Festival will be staying at the War Memorial Park after thousands of people had their say in a public vote last month.
The public were asked to vote on whether to keep the annual festival at the Memorial Park or move it to a new location in the city centre.
The free annual event, which was cancelled for the first time in 2012 due to terrible weather conditions, has attracted over 100,000 visits in previous years.
More than 21,000 votes in total were made via the Council’s website, by text message or phone or by using voting slips in Coventry libraries, with 62% voting to keep the event away from a move to a city centre location.
Council leader John Mutton said he was delighted that the festival has not changed location and thanked voters for taking part in the public consultation.
He said: “I’m also really pleased that there’s so much passion and enthusiasm for our Godiva Festival.
“We’re now one of the few councils in the country that’s prepared to fund a free festival of this size, because we recognise the many benefits it brings; economically and socially.
“So I’m really pleased that people are so proud of the festival and the way it brings the city together and care so much - there’s been a really lively debate about the issue.”
Coun Mutton revealed plans to bring more events into the city centre as a result of the vote – including the Godiva Carnival.
An advisory panel to help develop an events strategy for the city will hold its first meeting in early March and the line-up for Godiva Festival 2013 will be announced in May.
“It’s clear that many people liked the idea of doing more in the city centre and we’ve already come up with some ideas.
“So, for the first time, we will be holding the Godiva Carnival on a different weekend to the Festival – probably during the summer holidays - and it will take place across the city centre, rather than the simple procession to the park.
“We’ll be bringing Lady Godiva back home from her visit to London last year for the 2012 Olympics, because we know how much people enjoyed seeing her last summer.
“We’d also like to hear from the many musicians, club owners and event professionals who shared their views about the Godiva Festival and other events over the past few weeks – if you’d like to help us make the city centre a real focus for events, then let us know.”
Other events planned for Broadgate and the city centre over the next few months include a beer festival, a Global Market, St George’s Day celebrations with more being planned.
“The festival stays where it belongs, in the park,” Coun Mutton added. “But we’ve got a strong message from residents about the importance of bringing great events to Coventry and we want to make sure we develop these plans over the coming months.”
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