Children are banned from parade on road

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Organisers of a popular annual children’s festival have vowed it will be business almost as usual on Saturday - even though they have been banned from walking along their usual route on the A6.

Bilsborrow Children’s Festival organisers are reeling from the news that the main Garstang Road is out of bounds for their popular procession.

They believe it is the first time in 80 years local residents will have been prevented from processing along one of the area’s main highways.

Since they received the news that the popular parade could not follow its usual route they have worked to organise a new walking route and ensure that celebrations continue unabated.

But they have warned other local galas may face similar problems due to new arrangements relating to permits and traffic management for public events.

Chairman Kirsten Swift said: “It’s been an absolute nightmare.”

And it is just another blow for a festival beset by minor problems this year .First their usual band retired, then the church rooms for the crowning of the new Festival Queen were not available.

Kirsten said: “Keep calm and carry on - there were no church rooms, no band, no procession down the A6.

“We’ve been up against it this year but we’ve got a festival and we are continuing.”

She said they would make an application well in advance next year to try to ensure the route was able to resume on the A6.

Kirsten says the first she knew about any issues with road closures was when a police officer contacted her in December saying national policing policy had changed and they could no shut roads as before.

She was told the commitee would have to apply for a closure notice or rolling road block. Since then the committee has put in an application and employed a traffic management company at a cost of £200 to manage the parade.

They learnt just three weeks ago that the A6 would be out of bounds and the parade will now process from the village hall at 1pm up Church Lane to St Hilda’s Church for a service, before returning to the grounds of Bilsborrow John Cross CE School for the crowning of new Queen Louise Swarbrick at 2 pm.

Wyre Council advises event organisers that Lancashire Police adopted national guidance that police must not undertake traffic management other than for events of national importance.

Its website says: ”It is the event organisers’ responsibility to liaise with the local authority about how the event will be managed....the police are unable to provide officers to manage traffic for parades, galas and festivals. It is an event organisers’ responsibility to ensure robust traffic management plans are in place.”