In the wake of good reviews for this year’s two-day “Picnic Penarth” on the Esplanade, Penarth Town Council is now wrestling with a yet-to-be-agreed proposal to hold a second “Picnic Penarth” – possibly in Station Approach.
This year’s main Picnic Penarth event on the 9th and 10th of June was organised for the town council by local professional event company Genero Productions. It attracted what is said to have been the largest crowd ever to attend a council event – some 14,000 people.
Following on from this year’ssuccess of Picnic Penarth on the Esplanade – which coincided with the Volvo Ocean Race – Genero have now offered to run a second Picnic event (apparently at “no cost” to the council ) on August Bank Holiday weekend.
In this week’s meeting of the Events Committee Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell) and his wife Cllr Rhiannon Birch (Labour Cornerswell) – who is Leader of the Council – noted the success of the 2018 Picnic on the Esplanade and thanked the council officers who had worked on the event with Genero Events to make it a success..
The only quibble they had was with the weather and that it had been “so hot” at one point that they had both had to seek shade and ice cream. Cllr Birch said she had been particularly impressed on emerging from the cinema that evening that to see not a speck of rubbish anywhere on the Esplanade. It had all been bagged up for early morning collection.
Cllr Ben Gray (Conservative Plymouth Ward) also praised the organisation of the event – by Genero Productions and council officers, and endorsed Cllr Birch’s comments about rubbish clearance.
On a putative second “Picnic” event [ now being offered by Genero Productions with “no cost” to the council] Cllr Gray said it clearly would be possible to have it without any public money being involved and he would support idea of holding of a second Picnic on August Bank Holiday .
However chairing the committee was Cllr Yvonne Murphy (Labour St Augustines) – and she was NOT so persuaded of the idea of holding a second “no-cost” Picnic Penarth.
Ms Murphy – a councillor of the 2017 intake – tends to challenge the prevailing views of other members.
She said “I think there IS cost to the council – and it’s to do with resourcing” . She said the council staff were working at “absolute capacity” – and expressed reservations about putting another Picnic event on in August that had not had “adequate planning and marketing lead up”.
Cllr Murphy said “I would like to propose that we do not do the second Picnic” . She said this did not mean that a second Picnic could not be organised in future years, but the council needed to think strategically about “what the offer is” and “whose needs were being met ” at such an event.
Cllr Gray said he had moved the resolution [in favour of holding a second Picnic Penarth] because that was the “officer recommendation” in the report. Cllr Mark Wilson said that all the costs needed to be examined.
Cllr Martin Turner (Conservative Plymouth Ward) asked what the cost to the Town Council would be if it was resolved to keep going and organise a second “Picnic”. He urged that any decision should be deferred until the meeting of a working party next week. He asserted that “Picnic has enhanced the reputation of the Town Council”.
Cllr Murphy stuck to her guns. She had taken advice from council staff and found it was not clear who it was that Picnic was supposed to be catering for . The first Picnic had received a far longer planning time that a second one would have. People were starting to get confused as to the “offer”, who Picnic was actually for, and how it was connected with the Summer Festival.
The decision on a second “Picnic” was suspended pending a discussion of the working party which will be held on Monday next week. Working party discussions are not open to the press or public.