Royal Lancashire show bosses explain reasons for scrapping 2009 show

Share this article

The Royal Lancashire Agricultural Society issued the following statement this morning explaining its decision not to stage a show this year.

The issuing of the statement came the day after the Garstang Courier exclusively broke the story about its withdrawal from the Duchy of Lancaster-owned site at Myerscough, Lancashire.

The full text of the RLAS statement is reproduced below:

There will be no Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show this year.

Countywide Events Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Society Ltd, and would be organisers of the County Show, announced their decision today not to hold a Show in July.

After the disappointment of the 2008, at the Myerscough site, a three year business plan has been produced by the new company and details of this had been shared with their main partners The Duchy of Lancaster.

Despite the optimisms of the management team, the Duchy's agents made it clear that they were not prepared to invest any further capital in the development of the site at South Planks Farm, or to undertake the promised development of the buildings there.

Show must go on

A spokesman for Countywide explained that "time is now too short to find an alternative to the Myerscough site, despite a number of service contracts already confirmed. The site at Myerscough is not conducive to a quality event as it is unable to withstand the effects of adverse weather.

"Given that weather conditions are an important factor to be taken into consideration, we really have no alternative but to lose this year's Show".

"Even if we were to find somewhere in the next week or so, we would have to rush things and that would jeopardise the quality of the event which is something we must avoid at all costs".

"Additionally our office personnel will not be sorry to leave South Planks Farm as they have had to tolerate a certain amount of verbal and written abuse from some local residents, something which has tarnished the image of Lancashire folk".

"In terms of 2010, we will be developing our business plan and looking for a more suitable, permanent venue".

All is not lost for 2009.

Miss Wendy George (Chairman R.L.A.S.) said "We are getting over the disappointments and are looking forward to the future."

"Countywide Events have the opportunity to put into action elements of the original business plan by organising other events throughout the year."

"They are already looking carefully at a Game Fair and a Food Fair which will celebrate the wide variety and quality of foods produced right here in Lancashire.

There are also plans for a number of equestrian events, the first of which will be held on March 8th. Details of all these, and other future events, will be on our brand new web site at www.rlas.co.uk."

"The experience Countywide will gain, this year, will put us in good stead in 2010 when they will repeat the '09 events and add the County Show back into the mix".

When asked about the recent public statement made by The Duchy of Lancaster chief executive Mr Paul Clarke, Miss George had only this to say "We try to be professional and courteous in our dealings and really do not wish to comment on him making such a publicly inaccurate statement, which was, and is, a very regrettable action for him to have taken.

I am sorry this partnership has to end, but we are now fund-raising, to try and regain some of the stability in our bank-account, after all the money that was lost caused by last year's cancellation.

The society also has a lot of genuine supporters, whose only wish is to see us have a successful future and we feel this is the only way forward."

* The Courier has approached the Duchy of Lancaster for a response. A statement from the Duchy is expected to be released later today.