THE Swindon Mela has been cancelled after organisers failed to find enough money or make satisfactory safety arrangements in time.

The celebration of South Asian music, culture and food was set to be held in Old Town Gardens on Saturday, August 13.

This is the third time in as many years that the Mela has been advertised then called off at relatively short notice.

In 2014, the organising team said that a lack of donations and insufficient reserve funds was behind the decision.

Last year they cited date clashes with other South Asian events around the country which they said led to many contributing groups being unavailable.

This year, it is understood that despite being in discussion with the council and other event safety partners for some time, the Mela team were unable to make the necessary arrangements to a satisfactory standard before the deadline.

Certain measures, for example road closures, must be agreed and then advertised within a minimum time frame by law and as they were still not in a position to confirm these arrangements the organisers had little option but to back out.

A Swindon Mela spokesman said: “The Swindon Mela project team have been planning the event for over fourteen months, working extremely hard and committing their own resources to stage the 2016 Swindon Mela.

“The rising costs for street trading licences imposed on individual stallholders and a 25 page application form required by the authority to allow them to attend the event has resulted in a substantial drop out from major contributing stallholders.

“This coupled with additional regulation surrounding the closure of a number of roads in the area surrounding the venue, has resulted in heightened costs to carry out this process.”

The Mela has previously cost between £45,000 and £55,000 to stage and with only £26,000 raised with ten days to go until the event, it was unlikely that they would be able to bridge the financial gap.

A spokesman for Swindon Borough Council said: “Everyone understands these days why safety at events involving large numbers of people is so important, and in previous years the Mela has attracted over 20,000 people.

“The Event Safety Advisory Group, of which the council is a part, would expect to be reassured that measures are in place to ensure the safety of every person who attends.

“The council and emergency services need information from the organisers about such things as how they will control the numbers of people visiting, how they will manage traffic and parking, and how they will deal with emergencies.

“We have been talking to the organisers for many months and explained what they need to do and by when, but they have not produced the required documents and information in time or to a satisfactory standard.

“We have asked for nothing different than in previous years.

“The council recognises that the Mela is a popular event and the decision of the organisers to cancel it can’t have been easy, but it wouldn’t be right for it to go ahead without the safety measures that authorities in every part of the country would expect to see provided.”