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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Main Street blow for Malcolm Wilson rally

Cockermouth has suffered another setback in its events programme for 2014 as the Malcolm Wilson Rally will not take place in the town.

Work to improve Main Street has been blamed by organisers.

Now in its 39th year, thousands of people attend the event, which traditionally starts from Main Street.

It was forced to start from Dovenby Hall this year as a road closure order had not been secured in time.

Organisers will do the same for next year’s event on March 8.

There are no spectator facilities at the M-Sport headquarters.

Organisers had been offered the chance to start the rally from South Street but event secretary Ronnie Sandham said it was not an option.

She said: “We definitely want to be in Cockermouth and want to be on Main Street where people can congregate and watch.

“Main Street provides the spectacle, which is why we don’t want to be on a back street.

“We have tried to accommodate a number of issues and wishes of everybody and some of these have been possible and others have not.

“We are going to great lengths to make sure people stay in all the hotels in Cockermouth this year and we are very keen for it to return to the town in 2015.”

Organisers have also decided that the rally will finish at the Rheged Centre, near Penrith, rather than Cockermouth.

Malcolm Wilson, sponsor of the rally and managing director of M-Sport, said: “It would be nice to keep it out west and we want to keep pushing the event because it has been named the best BTRDA rally for the last few years and we want to keep getting that title.

“I would like to think that next year we can start back on Main Street because we have invested in Cockermouth and help to bring all the people to the area.

“We want to keep the prestige of having the event on Main Street.”

He said the finish had moved to Rheged as it provided better facilities for a prize-giving ceremony.

Last week it was revealed that the Georgian Fair would not go ahead in the town due to the redevelopment plans.

Organisers said they had no alternative but pledged it would return in 2015.

The £1.7 million revamp of Main Street is due to start in January and last eight months. Work will include improvements to bring the road up to the standard it was before the 2009 floods.

The northern pavement will be re-laid in sandstone, and drainage and street lighting improved. There will be a new layout for parking, loading bays, taxi ranks and bus stops.

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