Caister Carnival to go on without a parade

THE future of Caister’s carnival could be in jeopardy after the organisers were forced to cancel the village parade because they were unable to close roads on the route.

Norfolk Broads Lions Club had planned to stage the 10-float procession on June 26, but the police can no longer man the road closures.

And, as the club is unable to take on this responsibility, the parade will instead take place around the King George V playing field in Allendale Road.

New government guidelines mean safety advisory groups, and not the police, decide on road closures in the public safety interest.

But the loss of an important part of the community event caused concern about the carnival’s future among parish councillors at a meeting on Monday.

Vice-chairman Tony Baker said: “I think it is a great shame that a carnival in a village like this, which has a very good relationship with the police, is going to lose one of the main parts of the carnival just because the police can’t provide the officers for the road closures and carry out the traffic patrols on the route itself.

“It puts the whole future of the carnival in jeopardy.”

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The procession, which has been taking place since the carnival started in 1977, often has up to 15 floats and usually travels along Halt Road, Second Avenue, Ormesby Road and Beach Road before arriving at the recreation ground in Allendale Road.

Police officers used to stop traffic coming into Ormesby Road from the Hemsby and Great Yarmouth directions while the procession was passing through.

One of the organisers, David Amiss, said the carnival risked losing its “community feel” without the parade as people used to line the streets to watch it.

“There would be more people who watched it pass through the streets than there would be on the playing field. Holidaymakers see it and come and watch, while people come out of local businesses to view the procession,” Mr Amiss said.

A Norfolk police spokesman said: “Any suggestion that the police are to blame for the cancellation of this event is untrue.

“We informed the event organisers 12 months ago that we would not be in a position to provide road closures and that they will need to apply to the Safety Action Group.

“We are more than happy to work with the organisers to help them with their application if they so wish.

“In no way is our approach related to cost cutting – instead it reflects clarification issued to police forces that Safety Advisory Groups should make decisions to close roads in the interests of public safety.”

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