The organisers say they are hugely grateful for the generous sponsorship they have received from local firms. But rising costs, along with the Council’s insistence on an earlier start time of 8.00 a.m. which has deterred out-of-town runners, mean that the sums just aren’t adding up.
Cllr Milner-Barry continued: “If Bath, Reading and Oxford can run half marathons, why can’t Swindon? It almost seems as if the Conservative Administration is actively discouraging community events. This year there has been no Mela and no Pride. The Mfor Festival at Lydiard Park was cancelled. So were the World Cup screenings in the Town Gardens Bowl and all but one of the open-air film showings. Events such as the Sausage and Ale Trail in Old Town have had to struggle with a massive increase in the stall licence fee from £10 to £37.
By treating events like these as a cash cow, the Conservative Council is killing them off. A bit of support and flexibility on the part of the Council, especially with an event like the New Swindon Half which is just getting off the ground, would bring dividends in the form of a much more attractive image for Swindon. Swindon needs to invest in events like this that showcase the place”.