DEBATE over the route for this year’s Grantham Carnival parade rages on.
Carnival committee members claim Lincolnshire County Council is continuing to throw obstacles in their way, casting doubts over whether the 26-year-old parade can take place at all.
As reported in the Journal, the county council highways department has rejected route proposals submitted by the committee, instead suggesting routes which carnival chairman Roy Wright says will make it “an invisible parade”.
He added: “I’m not confident at all that the parade will take place. We’re not going to give up but it’s like we’re hitting a brick wall all the time, it really is.”
Roy fears the three routes suggested will either be lined by very few people, or force the vehicles around tight corners which would mean no lorries could be used as floats.
Carnival committee secretary Sharon Evans said: “We’ve already got lorries booked, so if we say we can’t have lorries, then we’re going to have half a dozen floats that won’t take part.
“Having no lorries as floats really takes a lot away from the parade.”
Despite running smoothly over the past 25 years, the parade is no longer allowed to travel the traditional route from Station Road East to Wyndham Park, taking in St Peter’s Hill, High Street, Watergate, Brook Street, Manthorpe Road and Belton Lane. This is because highways officials will not allow any interference with ‘A’ roads - in this case the A52 and A607.
In previous years, Lincolnshire police officers have stopped traffic but they are no longer allowed to do so and instead a traffic management company must be employed to carry out full road closures. The carnival committee has employed the services of TMS at a cost of over £2,000.
County councillor Richard Davies will meet with the committee next week to discuss their issues.
He said: “The carnival is an important part of Grantham’s cultural calendar and I’m keen that it continues. As we found with the other parade events in the town, once everyone gets around the table it’s quite simple to find a solution that allows these events to take place while at the same time remaining safe and legal.”
County council area highways manager Mark Heaton said he was reluctant to comment further prior to the meeting with the carnival committee.