NEXT week’s pancake race in Chippenham could be its last after the town council revealed this week that it has no plans to take over organising most events run by a controversial business group.

Chippenham Business Improvement District will cease to exist on March 31 after it failed to win a vote of support by traders at the end of last year.

It means that the pancake race on Tuesday will be the last organised by the BID and a spokesman for the town council said this week it would not be taking over the carnival, soap box derby, pancake races and other events.

But it will use the £40,000 grant it used to give the BID to pay for this year’s Christmas light switch-on.

A spokesman said: “It was discussed at committee and agreed by the full council. We have no plans to replace most events organised by the BID but will still be organising our own events such as a VE day celebration.”

A town council committee was told that the BID had spent £216,000 annually organising community events.

Of the 199 firms who voted in the month-long BID ballot, only 94 voted to reinstate the organisation, meaning it was the end of the group.

A number of business spoke out before the vote saying they were unhappy with being forced to pay a levy.

The pancake race is being sponsored by Chippenham firm John Williams Heating Services, run by John and Debbie Williams, which has been involved in the event for about six years.

Mrs Williams said: “We supported the BID with a voluntary levy even though we are out on Bumpers Farm Industrial Estate because we felt it did a lot for the town.

“It will be very sad if this is the last pancake race and other events like the carnival don’t go-ahead. But they take a lot of organising and I don’t blame the town council for not taking them on.

“Not having the BID to organise things is going to leave a big gap and I am not sure who will be able to take on the events.”

Chippenham businesswoman and former Mayor Sandie Webb said it would be a shame for the carnival to disappear but thought the town council had made the right decision.

Cllr Webb said: “While as an independent trader in the town it would be nice to see the carnival back, this would not be possible for the town council to produce this year and will need the community to come together if it is to be delivered next year.

“From previous years experience the soapbox derby and some of the other events organised by the BID had no particular value to any of our shops.

“So with both my councillor and traders hat on, I feel the decisions made to be the right ones.”

There will be three pancake races Tuesday – children, adults and business teams. Runners can register on the day at 3.45pm in the High Street.