‘It’s disgusting that our marches are threatened’

March of Witness, St Peters Hill.
March of Witness, St Peters Hill.
0
Have your say

LONG-standing parades which bring together the community of Grantham could come to an end.

Parades have marked Remembrance Day, St George’s Day and Good Friday for decades, with thousands of people turning out to mark the occasions.

St Georges Day Parade.

St Georges Day Parade.

However this year, confusion over road closure costs has put paid to the March of Witness on Good Friday, with doubts cast over the future of others.

Brenda Snowball, of Churches Together which organises the event, said: “We’ve never had to close roads before, we’ve just marched along the street and asked for police supervision. It’s a shame but we’ll still hold services and we’ll just have to walk along the pavement.”

Grace Knightall, 66, is a member of the Royal British Legion which holds the Remembrance Day parade every year.

Furious, she said: “We’ve been told it’ll cost £2,000 to put signs up because we’ve got to close roads. We’ve got to pay an horrendous amount of money for signs. We’ve never had to pay anything before. I mean it’s a national event, why should we have to pay it?

Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service.

Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service.

“It’s disgusting, I’m not having it. We need this Remembrance parade and need people to know what these men and women have done.”

Scout groups in the town are in the same position, having put on the St George’s Day parade for many years. They, too, have been told they face high costs for road closures.

However, Lincolnshire County Council and Lincolnshire Police say all these groups need to do is buy road closure and diversion signs.

This requirement falls under the Traffic Regulation Order which groups are now obliged to fill out and send to the county council.

Police spokesman James Newall said all groups were warned the order would come into play this year. He added: “If we manage the traffic without the Traffic Regulation Order in place we would not be complying with current legislation.”

County council traffic orders manager David Clark said: “The law states that all road closures require signage to tell people of the diversion routes and barriers to be in place. Event organisers will need to supply this themselves, or via a private traffic management company. We have no control over the fees they charge.

“This could be an opportunity for local organisations to work together and find ways of holding events more cost-effectively for the future.”

For events such as these, the county council waives a charge to advertise the road closure.