Birmingham's Fireworks Fantasia is past its sell by date and councillors are justified in dropping the event, the city's director of sport has claimed.

Geoff Cole told a scrutiny committee that spectacular fireworks events were now commonplace across the country and there was little prospect of Birmingham's annual venture in Cannon Hill Park breaking even.

He said: "We have to face facts when a product we have been promoting for years goes past its sell by date. It is sad that the Fireworks Fantasia has come to the end of its life, but people are voting with their feet. They are simply not going.

"Everyone is at it. Warwick Castle, Hagley Hall, Shugborough, there is a fireworks fantasia in almost every pub back yard now."

More than 28,000 people watched the Fireworks Fantasia in 1997, the last year admission was free. Numbers have been falling since then, with last year's event attracting fewer than 15,000 people.

Much of the cost was previously met by local radio station BRMB, which hosted its Party in the Park event earlier in the day. However, BRMB has pulled out leaving the council facing a huge bill for the Fireworks Fantasia.

John Alden, the cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, who has axed this year's event, said it lost almost £50,000 in 2005, equivalent to a £14 per head subsidy for each person attending.

"I do not think that is good value for council taxpayers."

He said the council's summer events programme would be revitalised with a number of new attractions.

Labour councillors hit out at what they said was a £100,000 cut in the 2006 events budget.

Councillor Penny Holbrook (Lab Stockland Green) said: "There is a substantial cut and this is going to have an impact on the people of Birmingham. Yet the cabinet member seems totally incapable of explaining why the money has been taken and where it has gone."