Residents have criticised the organisers of Oxford's biggest fireworks display for leaving parts of South Park churned up after the event.

It was the 55th Annual Charity Fireworks Display on Saturday night and organisers Oxford Round Table said the event was "a great success".

More than 20,000 people poured into the park below Headington Hill to see the display featuring a large bonfire and the night is expected to raise more than £50,000 for local charities. 

READ MORE: Fireworks display rearranged after flooding 

But vehicles needed to set up the display are said to have churned up the turf in wet conditions and people who live near the park plan to complain to the city council, which owns the park.

Christian Petersen, of Oxford Roundtable, said: "More than 20,000 people attended and we are hoping to raise £50,000 for local charities.

Oxford Mail: South Park fireworks"There is temporary damage to the park but there won't be lasting damage because the areas affected will be rolled by council staff and they could have recovered by Christmas."

READ MORE: First acts announced for next summer's Nocturne

Mr Petersen added "This happens every year - we plan for the council to undertake rectification works.

"We have a vested interest in the long-term future of the park."

Mr Petersen said some running boards were used and the way the event was run would be reviewed.

Oxford Mail: South ParkDr Daniel Emlyn-Jones, from Oxford who lives nearby, said: "Each year, Oxford Round Table organises Oxford fireworks display in South Park and each year the park ends up looking like the Battle of the Somme has just taken place.

"Residents have pleaded repeatedly with the organisers to protect the ground with sheeting and each year Oxford Round Table have refused on the grounds of cost."

Another resident Ned Denny added: "I just wanted to add my voice to what is hopefully a chorus of voices protesting at the absolutely scandalous state of South Park today, in the aftermath of last night’s firework display.

"I thought last year was bad but this really has to be seen to be believed, almost resembling a WW1 battlefield with numerous areas so torn up and deeply rutted as to be wholly impassable.

"The park is one of Oxford’s finest and most picturesque assets, and it is completely unacceptable that the cost of an hour or two’s entertainment is wrecking its beauty, and walkability, for what will now be the entire winter at least."

Park user Sue Harmer added: "Unbelievably, the day after the fireworks, the lorries have continued to churn up the park and take surplus pallets to be burned on the remnants of the bonfire, a bonfire of the vanities, as continuing to plough the park and add to the air pollution seems to be the preferred option."

Over the years more than £1m has been donated to local good causes from the proceeds of the display.

Oxford City Council has been asked to comment.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

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