Updated: Grantham’s Remembrance parade hangs in the balance
Organisers of the annual Remembrance parade through Grantham – to remember fallen heroes – are battling to secure its future.
In recent years, Lincolnshire Police has been stepped back from providing rolling road closures for parades across the board.
This, coupled with a delay in road closure permission from Lincolnshire County Council highways, has put the traditional parade – on Sunday, November 12 – at risk, say organisers.
Unless volunteers trained in traffic management come forward to help temporarily close roads, the parade of up to 600 people will not be allowed to take place – although there are suggestions the march will go ahead without permission as participants strongly feel Remembrance events should be protected.
Nobby Clark, of Grantham, is a parade organiser. He told the Journal the worst case scenario is the parade would be cancelled, adding: “Lincolnshire Police should be supporting the event, for what the parade is about. It’s in remembrance of the many people who died in the First and Second World Wars and every conflict up to now.”
He added the rolling road closure needs only to be in place for 10 minutes at each junction to allow the parade to pass through.
A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said officers from neighbourhood policing teams attend parades where they are able to. However, this is dependent on “other daily policing requirements”. He added: “They are not legally required to attend but our officers make every effort to be there and many have cancelled rest days in the past to be there.”
Chief Constable Bill Skelly said: “Lincolnshire Police is immensely proud to support Remembrance Day parades, honouring those who fought for our country.
“In the last 18 months, we have been working closely with parade organisers and their members to develop their understanding of their roles and responsibilities in delivering Remembrance events that are both safe and lawful.
“I am delighted that so many have engaged with us and that many parades are now able to proceed with little or no impact on the other commitments that Lincolnshire Police have to provide daily policing.
“One or two areas are still developing their ability to self-manage their events and I will be providing training opportunities early next year as additional support, particularly given the recent horrific acts of terrorism that have taken place in communities across the country.
“Remembrance Day will remain an important event in our policing calendar and I will continue to work with organisers to make these events as safe as possible.”
If it does go ahead, the parade will march off from St Peter’s Hill near the surgery and march along High Street and Watergate before turning into Vine Street to St Wulfram’s Church. Following the traditional service and laying of wreaths, the parade will return back along the same route and take the salute in front of the statue of Sir Isaac Newton.
The parade has previously set off from the bus station, but this has been refused outright by highways this year to avoid closing Wharf Road.
The Remembrance parade includes war veterans, cadets, civic dignitaries, scouts, guides, the RAF Waddington Band and more.
County and district councillor Ray Wootten, who is also a member of the police and crime panel, which monitors the work of the police and crime commissioner (PCC), told the Journal he has raised the issue with the PCC, Marc Jones.
He said: “Having had initial concerns that Lincolnshire Police were refusing to police the Remembrance Day parade in Grantham, I have now spoken with the police and crime commissioner Marc Jones, who has assured me that this is not the case and, that Lincolnshire Police will be in attendance.
“This must be great news for the organisers, the veterans and members of the Armed Forces.”