‘We’ll sort traffic issues’ say organisers of 40’s Festival

Some of the crowds at this year's 40's Festival
Some of the crowds at this year's 40's Festival

Organisers of the 1940s Festival in Woodhall Spa have revealed they are putting ‘strong plans’ in place to overcome traffic issues before next year’s event.

Record crowds packed into Woodhall last month for the festival which, admit the organising committee, has become a victim of its own success.

In an open letter to the community, residents are thanked for their support but the committee admits it would be ‘naive’ to pretend that the two-day event had not presented challenges.

Committee members allege they were let down by a road traffic management company brought in to ensure arrangements went to plan - and by the non-appearance of enforcement officers from the county council.

The letter states: “We want to say to you – villager to villager – that we are more than aware of the issues and we are putting strong plans in place to utterly resolve them before we press on with arranging a festival next year.

“The phrase ‘a victim of our own success’ seems prevalent.

“While to a certain extent this is true - and is a positive problem to have - we want to be completely open and assure you that the traffic and parking issues that occurred this year did not come about due to a lack of planning.”

The committee say the traffic management plan was backed by all the relevant authorities and involved a ‘significant cost to their limited funds.’

The letter continues: “We were more than mindful that this was likely to be an issue and therefore implemented a robust traffic management plan.

“Unfortunately, we were let down on several fronts which led to confusion for drivers and people deciding to leave their car wherever they found space, regardless of the suitability or safety of that location.

“We were left with congested routes in and out of the village, and people parked in unsuitable – or just plain dangerous – places. We will strive to resolve this.”

The committee stresses a priority is solving issues with Station Road/Broadway which is the main route through the village.

The County Council has been reluctant to close the route because there is no obvious diversion but organisers say they will continue to campaign for it to be closed. .or restricted to improve the safety of pedestrians. 
One further issue that we are determined to resolve is the viability of Station Road/Broadway. We have

sought to have this main thoroughfare closed each year to ensure visitors have optimum space to explore

the centre of the village, without the concern of passing traffic. County Highways have not allowed us to

do this due to a lack of a suitable diversion, but we will continue to campaign to close or at least restrict

traffic on this road to ensure maximum safety for every single pedestrian. We hope we can count on the

support of the community as we work with this and other agencies (including the East Lindsey Event

Safety Advisory Group (ELESAG) at Manby) in the coming months to achieve this goal. Every voice

added to this issue will matter so please feel free to contact County Highways to express your concerns.

These should be directed to Area Highway Manager Andy Ratcliffe at Dev_HT_EL@lincolnshire.gov.uk

or on 01522 782070.

As a committee of volunteers who organise our village’s 1940s Festival, we write to you with a huge

message of thanks for the support, enthusiasm and patience that you have shown over recent years.

Together we have created something special that would not be possible without the support of the

community.

The huge success of this year’s Festival appears to have cemented the weekend as a real destination event

in Lincolnshire, attracting people from around the county, country and beyond. Year on year the number

of visitors has risen, bringing not only a significant financial boost to the village but has created a

genuinely electric atmosphere and a demonstrable swell of pride from residents. We live in a truly unique

part of the world and it is hugely rewarding to see what a success it has become. We hope you feel that

same sense of satisfaction.

In talking to many of you during and since the Festival in July, it is very clear that there is an

immeasurable level of support for our event, which is still in its formative years. However, we recognise

that it would be naive to pretend that our festival has not presented some challenges for us as a

committee and us all as a community. Namely, the volume of visitors we now attract means lots of traffic,

all needing to park and find their way safely to the main attractions. We want to say to you – villager to

villager – that we are more than aware of the issues and we are putting strong plans in place to utterly

resolve them before we press on with arranging a Festival next year.

The phrase “a victim of our own success” seems prevalent. While to a certain extent this is true - and is a

positive problem to have - we want to be completely open with you and assure you that the traffic and

parking issues that occurred this year did not come about due to a lack of planning. We were more than

mindful that this was likely to be an issue and therefore implemented a robust traffic management plan

that had the full support of the relevant agencies including the local Councils and Highways Agency. That

plan included engaging a traffic management firm to provide signage, directions, cones etc. This service

came at significant cost to our limited funds, but we recognised that it was imperative to the safety and

success of the weekend.

Unfortunately, we were let down on several fronts; the traffic management firm did not completely fulfil

their contract, which led to confusion for drivers and people deciding to leave their car wherever they

found space, regardless of the suitability or safety of that location. Two Traffic Wardens, provided by

County Highways, were due to patrol the village but failed to attend despite assurances that we could rely

on this official support. Together, we were left with congested routes in and out of the village, and people

parked in unsuitable – or just plain dangerous – places. We will strive to resolve this. 
One further issue that we are determined to resolve is the viability of Station Road/Broadway. We have

sought to have this main thoroughfare closed each year to ensure visitors have optimum space to explore

the centre of the village, without the concern of passing traffic. County Highways have not allowed us to

do this due to a lack of a suitable diversion, but we will continue to campaign to close or at least restrict

traffic on this road to ensure maximum safety for every single pedestrian. We hope we can count on the

support of the community as we work with this and other agencies (including the East Lindsey Event

Safety Advisory Group (ELESAG) at Manby) in the coming months to achieve this goal. Every voice

added to this issue will matter so please feel free to contact County Highways to express your concerns.

These should be directed to Area Highway Manager Andy Ratcliffe at Dev_HT_EL@lincolnshire.gov.uk

or on 01522 782070.

We hope this letter goes some way to reassuring you that although we are a group of volunteers, this does

not diminish our dedication to running a safe, successful and enjoyable event next year. We had the right

plans in place this year but were let down. We will do all we can to ensure these issues do not arise again,

but we need support. We hope we can rely on the continued support of the community. Together, we can

continue to put on one hell of a show that everyone – visitors and villagers – enjoy without traffic or

parking featuring as a concern.

One final word – we are eager to meet with as many residents and business owners to discuss some of

what we have raised in this letter, and to find new ways to work together, in the near future. So please feel

free to come along to our open meeting at 7:30pm on 3rd September at the Golf Hotel. We look forward

to seeing you there.

Kind regards,