Council apologises after Himley fireworks traffic chaos leads to spectators missing show

Organisers of two large Black Country firework displays have apologised to people who ended up stuck in traffic and missing some of the action.

The fireworks at Himley Hall. Photo: @RiichardJP
The fireworks at Himley Hall. Photo: @RiichardJP

A record 22,000 people bought tickets to the sold-out event at Himley Hall in Dudley on Saturday night, while 15,000 tickets were sold for the display at Wolverhampton Racecourse on the same evening.

While many enjoyed the circus-themed event at Himley, others were left angry at the congestion and lack of parking spaces which caused them to miss the show.

One woman, Jo Arnold, said she was stuck in traffic for three hours – then was told to turn around and park on the road.

"At this point there was no available road parking as it was already chaotic," she wrote on Facebook.

"There was eight of us in two cars travelling together, paid VIP ticket price (so over £100) for nothing. We couldn't get in even if we had tried.

Cleaners after firework night at Himley Hall

"Weather [sic] it be by parking on the road or by bus, cos by the time we had turned round got back through the traffic and got back to the gate it would of all been over and time to go home. We were all so disappointed."

Dudley Council has now apologised, saying it would continue to make improvements.

Councillor Shaun Keasey, cabinet member for digital, commercial and customer services, said: “We saw unprecedented demand for this year’s event which saw us sell out beforehand and I want to thank those who came along.

“The bonfire has been running for more than 40 years and the car parking on site is limited and for this reason we do always advise people to make arrangements to walk in, park sensibly or use the free bus service. This year, we had advised people planning to travel by car to arrive early. The car parks were able to accommodate approximately 1,750 cars and the last car park closed just before 7pm.

“At a large scale event with one access road, it is to be expected that it will take time for the crowds and traffic to disperse but we understand people’s frustrations and I apologise to those who experienced delays. I can assure people we’ll be looking into issues with parking in and around the grounds, traffic and the free bus service to address concerns moving forward.

Some spectators missed the show due to parking problems at Himley Hall

“We have had some fantastic feedback about the fireworks and a vast majority of the display was above the tree line but again we take people’s feedback on board.

“I was fortunate to be in the park and see first-hand how many people were enjoying themselves. This is the biggest event we host every year and we will continue to strive to make improvements.”

It was a similar situation over at Wolverhampton Racecourse, where tickets and parking had both sold out in advance and many people were stuck waiting hours to travel the last few hundreds yards.

A Wolverhampton Council spokesperson said: "The Fireworks Spectacular at Wolverhampton Racecourse was a real success for the city with unprecedented levels of demand.

"We saw a sell-out event, with 15,000 tickets sold for people to enjoy the two world-class displays and we have received a lot of positive feedback.

"To help people plan their journey, notices of the sell-out were issued on our social media channels, on local radio on the morning of the displays and via our electronic messaging boards across the city on the day. We had also encouraged people to travel by public transport if they could.

"However, we are aware that there were issues with a high volume of traffic and we apologise for any inconvenience some people experienced.

"These issues and all customer feedback will inform our planning for future events. We will also continue to encourage use of public transport and encourage those who can access the venue on foot to consider that as an option."

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