Colne Gala procession under threat

A popular procession at the heart of an annual Colne event is under threat.

Friday, 2nd May 2014, 12:00 pm
The procession makes its way up Albert Road.

Committee members of Colne Gala have spoken of their devastation after a road closure order they have been submitting for the past decade was turned down by Lancashire County Council.

The shock refusal comes as Lancashire Constabulary begin scaling down their involvement in smaller local events, which was previously done as “a gesture of goodwill”.

They have recently adopted the Association of Chief Police Officers’ “National Guidance”, which means they will not undertake any traffic management for an event on the highway, other than those that are deemed to be of national importance, such as a Remembrance Day parades.

Chairman of Colne Gala Gary Seed (46), of Harrison Drive, said: “The procession is in serious danger of not going ahead.

“Over the years, we have managed to get the procession down to a tee - and then this hits us.

“It brings people out of their homes, into the town centre, and it is good for the community and businesses.

“Without the procession, it is going to be a major problem for us. If it is not going to happen this year, it is going to kill it off completely.

“We have been trying to get a meeting together with the local authority and the police, but we don’t seem to be getting anywhere.”

And Coun. Neil Butterworth, who also sits on the committee, added: “It is not just the Colne Gala, it is every single fun day out there. It is awful.”

This year’s Gala event is set to take place on Saturday, June 21st.

Initial inquiries have been placed with companies who could provide traffic management, as suggested by LCC. But according to Coun. Butterworth, the £1,500 estimate is a cost the gala simply cannot afford.

Responding, Phil Barrett, director of Lancashire County Council highway services, said: “We recognise the importance of parades and community events and the resource implications for all involved.

“I understand that the constabulary is reviewing its approach to marshalling these types of events and the county council as the highway authority is working with the police, district councils and event organisers to ensure that wherever possible they can take place safely and with the least disruption, where they affect the public highway.”