Bradford Mela festival cancelled as unseasonable weather causes havoc

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PERSISTENT rain over the last week has led to the cancellation of Bradford Mela, which was due to go ahead today.

Bradford Council officials assessed conditions at Peel Park yesterday morning and the heavily waterlogged ground conditions left them with no other option but to cancel the Mela for safety reasons.

Council officers deemed the infrastructure of the Mela - stages, marquees, fairground rides and temporary buildings - could be compromised by the soft and shifting ground in Peel Park.

Inspections revealed pools of standing water in key areas, including the car park.

A Met Office advisor told the council that there would be continued showers overnight, adding to the already saturated ground.

A spokesman said: “There were also concerns that attempts to use the park would severely damage the ground, including community football pitches, and would take several seasons of work to repair.”

Phil Barker, the Council’s assistant director sport and leisure services, said: “This is a real shame because we know the Mela is enjoyed by so many people in the Bradford district and the rest of the country. If there was any way we could go ahead with it we would but we have to be realistic and consider the safety of the public and the effect it would have on the park itself.”

Mike Cowlam, assistant director economic development, said: “The park is waterlogged at the moment and although cancelling the Mela is a huge disappointment we have to be responsible and consider the dangers. We are not prepared to put people’s safety at risk.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s executive member for employment, skills and culture, said: “I am so disappointed that the Mela has had to be cancelled. It is a highlight on our events calendar but the weather has been atrocious over the last few days, leaving us really with no choice.”

The wet and windy weather caused problems across the country. The unseasonable weather saw a number of trees brought down, including one which crushed a car in Tavistock, Devon, injuring a woman.