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Here’s why the future now looks secure for historic Derbyshire illuminations event

Matlock Bath illuminations 2018. Herbie - Richard Wood and Angela Fox-Wood (Chesterfield)
Matlock Bath illuminations 2018. Herbie - Richard Wood and Angela Fox-Wood (Chesterfield)

The future of a popular Derbyshire event is set to be secured for the next couple of years.

Derbyshire Dales District Council is on the verge of cementing a place for the Matlock Bath Illuminations – well known for its illuminated row-boats – until 2020.

Last year the attraction brought 52,087 paying visitors and around 100,000 people in total to Matlock Bath.

This year’s event, the 121st, is currently under way, having started on Saturday, September 8.

MORE ON THIS STORY: Matlock illuminations in pictures

The attraction will continue to run every weekend, complete with a firework display on each night, until Sunday, October 28.

This week district councillors are set to hand approval to the festival organisers – the council itself – to set up market stalls, catering stands, a funfair, ticketing office and toilets in Derwent Gardens for the next two seasons.

The district council states that the attraction is held at no cost to the taxpayer and has dubbed it an “undoubted success”.

Permission for next year’s event would run from August 24 to November 6 and 2020’s attraction would start on August 22 and finish on November 4.

Each year the Matlock Bath Boat Builders’ Association design an array of boats, each lit up with around 700 coloured bulbs.

The boats include designs such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Herbie the VW, the Red Arrows, a World War One tank and a Lancaster Bomber – there are nine this year in total.

Alongside this is a traditional candle boat built to show the way the parade used to look in its early years.

Matlock Bath Parish Council has no objection to the continued plans, but has requested that amplified music and announcements should cease at 9pm and that there are concerns about the fun fair opening during the week in school term time from 10am to 10pm. It also states that further toilets needed to be supplied.

District council officers have stated that music and announcements – amplified or not – will only be allowed from 6pm from 9pm. The attraction itself would be limited to 10am to 10pm.

A large area to the rear of Ticket Office One is set aside for the sole use of disabled persons as a viewing area on weekend evenings for the parade of illuminated boats

The temporary toilets that are brought in for the fireworks nights would be easily accessible, with one for the sole use by disabled persons.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service