Swansea Christmas parade 'shambles' contract defended

A photo of Santa on a sleigh Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Parents claimed that after waiting in the cold for an hour, the parade was "all over in five minutes"

Swansea council will run its own Christmas parade next year after last week's event was branded a "shambles".

Disappointed onlookers who had been promised "dynamic dance troupes" and "spectacular shows" complained there were only three floats in a parade scaled down due to roadworks.

Council leader Rob Stewart has admitted it "fell short" of expectations.

Officers said Eureka Wales were hired as "experienced event producers". The firm could not be reached for comment.

A council spokesman told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the company had been contracted "in line with the council's formal procedures" but the process was being reviewed to "learn any lessons".

"Eureka Wales were appointed because they evidenced that they were experienced event producers who were able to work with us through uncertainty and change in the city centre," the spokesman said.

The company was also committed to being inclusive, he added, by creating a choir of homeless people and using sign language to describe the parade and performances.

Eureka Wales was promised £30,000 to cover costs for "all creative content" and fees to participants, the council said, with the total cost of the event coming to £68,423.

Marketing and promotion activities were managed by the council, which has been praised for its staging of events such as the Biggest Weekend music festival and the annual Wales Airshow.

Council leader Rob Stewart apologised this week to dejected parade-goers and pledged an event that everyone could be proud of in 2019.

Chris Holley, who leads the Liberal Democrat opposition, said he would like to know more about the procurement process and the track record of the chosen company in delivering Christmas parades.

"With that type of tender, I'd look at who's done it before, and then get a couple of quotes," he said.

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