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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 06 August 2007

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Mathew Street Festival is off, but Beatles Week is still on!

LIVERPOOL’S 2007 Mathew Street Festival has been cancelled at the 11th hour. The Culture Company stopped the event, citing health and safety reasons, on Thursday 2 August 2007. This cancellation does not affect the Beatles Week, which is the main part of the Mathew Street Festival. It also does not affect the city’s ability to stage other large-scale events, including the city’s 800th birthday celebrations on 28 August 2007.

On 3 August, Liberal Democrat Councillor, Flo Clucas, spoke to shocked members of Liverpool City Council and won unanimous support for a rescue package. The council are calling for:- "Heads to roll at the highest level." as it is the City’s 800th birthday this year and only a few months off the 2008 Capital of Culture events Not only that, but it 40th anniversary of the release of the Sgt Pepper’s album and the 50th anniversary of the first meeting of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Most people have pointed out that this shock decision taken by the Culture Company has not only harms the city's reputation, both nationally and internationally, but also damages the confidence of tourists in the 2008 events.

The decision was taken by the Culture Company followed independent advice from Capita Symonds Limited, the country’s leading experts in health and safety at outdoor events. They were employed by the Liverpool Culture Company to undertake a comprehensive review of the plans for the festival, and highlighted the loss of the Pier Head and extensive regeneration work taking place in the city centre in August 2007, which has reduced Liverpool’s capacity to host an event which regularly attracts more than 100,000 people to the city.

The advice given to the Liverpool Culture Company states that due to the redevelopment of the Pier Head which, in recent years, has served as a focal point for the festival, it's ability to accommodate up to 34,800 visitors at any one time has been lost. This loss in accommodation would see the visitors to this year’s festival move into the city streets, many of which are also undergoing regeneration works. This reduction in capacity, combined with huge crowds in an open, licensed environment would mean there is a significant safety risk to the public. Despite the detailed planning for the event, and discussions between the city council, police and safety officials, ways cannot be found to fully eliminate the risk. This advice, given by Capita Symonds Limited, was backed by Merseyside Police. Merseyside Police’s Assistant Chief Constable, Helen King, said:- “Having had sight of the advice from the independent consultants to Liverpool Culture Company, we fully understand why they have made the decision to cancel Mathew Street festival this year. Public safety has to be the paramount consideration.”

On Thursday 2 August, the four founding members of the Beatle Week's Festival, held a press conference in the Cavern Club and stressed that:- "It was not us that cancelled it." and that:- “The outdoor stages have been cancelled, but with regard to the rest of the events in the pubs and clubs across the city, these fantastic events will run as normal. Sadly, the press release sent out is giving out completely the wrong message!

We do though see why the Culture Company has taken this decision, as Liverpool is very sensitive to Heath and Safety.  ..."

 ...continued...  "... Liverpool is possibly more sensitive than other cities due to passed tragedies and plays now heavily on the side of caution. Why this problem could not have been foreseen sooner is another question? The city has changed so much in such a short time and it was inevitable this type of problem would happen.

We would also like to stress that if the City Council cannot come up with a rescue package, this year’s event will not be suitable for children. Sadly, it will only be held in licensed venues and for that reason children will be unable to attend the events.

The event was originally organised as the Beatles Week. We started out small and it is only recently the free part of the festival has grown. This has helped in dealing with the massive amounts of people the week has attracted in recent years. This, however, has altered, in some ways, the feel and the meaning of the event. This cancellation will be a good way of seeing just how important the events are to the city.

As for 2008 in a strange way, this decision, is only a hiccup. The City is getting a new events arena and also lots more opportunities for finding new venues for band stages, as the building work is completed. In 2008 the Beatles Festival will be more interesting and less problematic, as the majority of building work will be completed in time for the Capital of Culture events."

More information about this years Beatles Week see this LINK.


WITH this summer expected to have the highest pollen counts in 3 years, Motaquip, a leading UK parts supplier and the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, University of Worcester, are warning hayfever sufferers to take extra care on the roads.  Currently, over 12 million people suffer from hayfever across the country, with common symptoms such as bouts of sneezing and itchy eyes detrimental to driving ability.

Professor Jean Emberlin, director of the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, explains:- “When you sneeze, the eyes close for at least a second – often more while you recover. If you consider the distance that can be covered in the time it takes to sneeze you, at 30mph, you would travel 27 metres (88 feet), at 60mph you would travel 54 metres (176 feet). At 70 mph, up to 63 metres (205 feet) could be covered blind.”

However, very few drivers are aware that a vehicle’s cabin filter can be the solution to these problems. According to Motaquip, a visit to your local independent garage to get your vehicle’s cabin filter changed can help reduce the symptoms of hayfever and improve driver safety.

Howard Partridge, Motaquip’s marketing manager, said:- “Whilst the summer months may seem like one long irritation for hayfever sufferers, it is vitally important motorists are aware of the dangers this could have on road safety.  The good news is there are measures you can actively take to help prevent allergic reactions, such as multiple sneezes, which can hamper driver alertness. Cabin filters for example help to create an almost pollen-free zone by cleaning the air before it enters the passenger compartment, removing up to 99% of contamination from the air.”

The majority of the vehicles on UK roads have cabin filters fitted as standard, but owners need to be aware that once a cabin filter is saturated with contaminants, it becomes less effective at cleaning the incoming air, enabling pollutants and allergens to enter the vehicle.

Continued Partridge:- “The only way to create a sneeze-free zone is to have an effective cabin filter to purify the incoming air. This will also help avoid a runny nose and eyes, congestion, headaches and tiredness. It is therefore important that drivers take their vehicle to their local independent garage at regular intervals to get their cabin filters checked, and replaced if necessary, to help keep allergies at bay.”

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