After news that Liverpool City Council have planned to impose a significant road closure charge for the staging of the upcoming Santa Dash, BTR Liverpool has announced this morning that it will move its head office from the city. The council had requested £17,000 for road closure and loss of parking charges during the time in which the Santa Dash takes place and would not authorise a traffic order until the bill was paid.
The latest development comes a year after BTR Liverpool cancelled their annual marathon following a dispute with the city council. In addition to the Santa Dash, BTR Liverpool have a considerable presence in the city and organise the popular Port Sunlight 5K/10K, Mersey Tunnel 10K, the Tour of Merseyside, Wirral Half and 10K, plus the Liverpool Half Marathon.
BTR Liverpool director Alan Rothwell commented: “There is no issue with the current event portfolio for next year and the half marathon is secure for the next three years with the involvement of Vitality / Pru Health. I need to look at Tunnel 10K beyond next year and the Santa Dash is now under review for 2016.”
Alan continued: “We need to work in an environment that is positive and supportive of what we are trying to achieve and that is not Liverpool. I have given up the last 10 years of my career to help make a difference in our great city and to that end I think we have. That said we are clearly not welcome here by the local authority.”
While the latest developments will certainly cast some doubt into the long-term future of the Santa Dash, a council spokesman suggested yesterday that the closure charge for this year’s event could be revised. A statement read: “The city council will review this figure and if it is too high then we will adjust it and refund the difference. There are costs associated with large-scale events and it is appropriate that organisers work together with us and other partners to meet those costs.”
The Santa Dash, organised for Sunday 7 December, has been under the direction of BTR Liverpool since 2004. Last year, the event attracted 10,299 participants.