ORGANISERS of Devizes Carnival and street festival say Wiltshire Council is killing cultural events in the town by plans to charge huge amounts for parking spaces and road closures.

Loz Samuels the artistic director of Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts ,which organises both the carnival, is furious that the council has not only cut its grant to the organisation but also wants to charge £10 per on-street parking space a day during festivals plus extra for putting up signs.

This year DOCA faced a bill of around £1,000 for the Bank Holiday street festival and Saturday’s carnival procession but a last minute deal meant the charge was waived. But organisers fear that next year they could have to pay the full amount.

Ms Samuels said: “This still isn’t sorted. It is getting more and more difficult for us to get funding as we have to match fund any Arts Council grant with 25 per cent that we have raised ourselves. If our own council won’t support us it does not look good. Wiltshire Council is in danger of killing cultural events in the town.”

She was speaking after one of the most successful carnival fortnights ever with thousands flocking to the street festival, confetti battle and carnival parade.

Town councillor and carnival stalwart Kelvin Nash, who was in charge of liasing with Wiltshire Council over the street closures and use of on-street parking said he was told it would cost £370 for the Bank Holiday Monday and he had worked out it could have been another £600 or more for Saturday.

But he held a meeting with parking officers on Friday. He said: “We came to an agreement at the 11th hour hat there would not be a charge for this year and there would be a discussion about the future.”

Wiltshire Council portfolio holder for tourism Richard Gamble said: “Wiltshire Council’s Devizes Area Board supported DOCA with a grant of £5,000, which helped to lever funding of more than £50,000 from the Arts Council.

“As the organisers of the event, DOCA was aware that there would be a charge of £350 for the signage and enforcement required relating to parking closures on Monday. The organisers decided not to implement this additional signage and therefore no charge was made.”

Devizes Town Council deputy clerk Simon Fisher said : “The Council believes that parking charges should not become a barrier to these type of events.”