THE biggest annual event in Morecambe has been scrapped as Lancaster City Council looks to save money.

The Festival of Light and Water has drawn crowds of thousands to the resort in recent years - but has now been consigned to the history books

From next year the city council will host just four festivals, the Punk Festival and Heritage Gala in Morecambe and the Lancaster Jazz Festival and annual fireworks display at Lancaster Castle.

It says it can 'no longer sustain' the position of being sole provider of the whole festivals programme.

An Innovation Fund totalling £10,000 in 2005 and rising to £20,000 a year in 2006, and targeted in the first year solely at Morecambe, will be used to encourage others to develop events and festivals with the aim of encouraging visitors and business benefits.

The Maritime Festival next year will dovetail with the national Sea Britain Festival celebrating the bi-centenary of Trafalgar.

Cllr Ron Sands, Cabinet member with responsibility for tourism, says: "Changing the festivals programme has always been controversial but I believe this format of core events will help the district provide a vibrant and varied programme in the future."

Council leader Cllr Ian Barker says: "It is important that the work on the festivals programme is considered in the context of the regeneration being developed for the Midland and Central Promenade and the West End of Morecambe, which will give the resort a firm platform to develop in the future as a top quality place to live, work and visit."

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