Hopes raised for Lowestoft carnival parade

THERE were hopes this week that Lowestoft's traditional carnival parade could yet take to the streets this summer after all.

As The Journal reported last week, organisers have voiced fears that they might have to take the parade off-road amid rising costs and red tape.

But now, help may be at hand from Waveney District Council and Suffolk County Council.

And officials say they are looking at the scope for creating a community fund to help such events take place.

Last week, Lowestoft carnival committee said it was exasperated by the bureaucracy and costs now associated with closing roads and marshalling the parade.

The Friends of Lowestoft Hospital, who organise the annual event, said they had to rethink their plans for this year's procession and that it could signal the end of the familiar sight of larger floats driving along the town's roads.

However, Waveney council leader Mark Bee confirmed this week that his council was working with Suffolk County Council to seek a solution.

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Mr Bee said: 'This situation clearly isn't acceptable, and one way or another we need to resolve it and allow the carnival to follow its original intended route.

'Obviously it would be unfair on the carnival committee to go into too much detail without speaking to them first; however, one of the options we are exploring is the creation of a community fund in partnership with the county council to enable this, and similar events, to take place.

'We should be in the business of making events like this easier to organise, not harder.'

Having a community fund could mean the carnival parade and other public events – including the Scouts' Lowestoft St George's Day parade – could remain on the town's roads.

Carnival chairman Pat Rayner said: 'It is very encouraging to hear of such positive potential help being offered. Although we don't yet know the extent of the financial support being discussed, it is pleasing to know that those in authority acknowledge the difficulties facing us and other organisers who now need costly road closures and bought-in traffic management to enable their events to take place.'

Waveney MP Peter Aldous also expressed his dismay that such traditional events could be under threat and pledged his full support to the efforts to save them. He said: 'It is unacceptable for these types of event to face such red tape and costs. Not only are they greatly enjoyed by the community but they also raise a lot of money for charity.'

The hospital Friends are inviting local people to comment. Email info@lowestoftcarnival.co.uk or contact them by Facebook or by letter to 178 Carlton Road, Lowestoft, NR33 0ND.

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