A Lichfield councillor has said the Sheriff’s Ride should not be given a blank cheque to be hosted in future after the soaring cost of the event was revealed.
The annual tradition sees riders take on a 20-mile route around the boundary of the city.
Lichfield City Council describes the ride as “a unique and extremely prestigious event” on its own website.
But Labour’s Cllr Dave Robertson said the cost of hosting the event had “spiralled” with road closures alone costing £7,000.
He added that while he hoped it could continue, questions should be asked about the price tag on the event going forward.
“The Sheriff’s Ride is an ancient tradition in the city of Lichfield and we are one of very few parts of the country which still holds an event of this type.
“However, costs for this tradition more than doubled in 2019 and were set to continue at a similar level in 2020 before it was cancelled due to coronavirus.
“Most of the cost increase is because of road closures which are needed for the event.
“These are now being charged to the city council, rather than being provided for free by the police, meaning that the budget for future Sheriffs Rides will be more than £12,000.”Cllr Dave Robertson, Lichfield City Council
A vote on the proposals to push ahead with spending plans for future iterations of the Sheriff’s Ride were passed at a recent meeting of Lichfield City Couciil, but the Labour members opted to abstain.
Cllr Robertson explained:
“While we recognise that this tradition is part of the history of the city, we didn’t feel that we could justify the Sheriff’s Ride costing more than 1% of the entire city council budget.
“This would be spent on a single event which is attended by so few people from Lichfield.
“Labour councillors on Lichfield City Council do not want to see the end of the Ride, but we also do not think that it should be given a blank cheque from the council.
“For this reason we could not support the extra spending when it was proposed at the council.
“We also voted against the Conservative budget when it was proposed, with the Sheriff’s Ride being part of the reason for this.”Cllr Dave Robertson, Lichfield City Council