BUREAUCRATIC rules mean Grantham’s carnival parade has been banished from the High Street for the first time in its history - but the authorities are blaming each other and the event organisers for the fiasco.
Carnival organisers have been forced to negotiate a new route for the annual parade, which will take it out of the town centre this year.
The break with tradition has been forced by Lincolnshire Police - which says it does not have the manpower to marshal the event - and Lincolnshire County Council - which says it has not had enough notice to implement road closures.
Carnival committee chairman Roy Wright was shocked when he was told this week that the parade cannot go ahead as planned.
He said: “I’ve had some sleepless nights over this - it’s been a nightmare. It’s not a pleasant feeling at the moment, but I’m undeterred and I’ll make the best of what we’ve got. We’re going to make a spectacle of it.”
Instead of following its usual route along High Street and Brook Street, this year’s parade will leave the town centre at St Peter’s Hill and make its way to Wyndham Park along Avenue Road, Stonebridge Road, Sandon Road and Hill Avenue.
Roy plans to stop the parade in St Peter’s Hill and has got a number of local groups involved at the last minute to create a spectacle for crowds in the town centre.
Dean Fardell of Grantham Boxing Club - one of the groups taking part in the parade - is outraged by the situation.
He said: “What’s the town coming to? The council says it wants to help the town, but it’s driving people away from it.
“I’ll lose all respect for them if the parade doesn’t go down the High Street.”
Mayor of Grantham Mike Taylor tried in vain to get the restrictions on the parade route lifted this week.
In an email to the county council this week, he wrote: “I would hope that someone in authority would ensure that this year’s carnival is allowed to proceed in its normal format . . . this I believe would be a common sense approach and would alleviate any bad publicity for the county council, the sort of publicity we can all do without.”
The county council highways department wrote to the carnival committee last year explaining that six months’ notice was needed for road closures for the parade.
The carnival committee says it never received the letter.
l See the free programme in today’s paper for full details of the parade and the carnival weekend.