EXCLUSIVE: Rose Fair saved by cash from Fenland District Council
EXCLUSIVE By TOM JACKSON THE historic Rose Fair has been saved with an eleventh hour grant from Fenland District Council, after it emerged carnival organisers would have to fork out £3,000 for traffic management. Wisbech Round Table was stopped in their t
By TOM JACKSON
THE historic Rose Fair has been saved with an eleventh hour grant from Fenland District Council, after it emerged carnival organisers would have to fork out £3,000 for traffic management.
Wisbech Round Table was stopped in their tracks this week by the new Road Traffic Act, which came into force last month and shifted responsibility for traffic management from the police to event organisers.
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An estimated £3,000 was needed to develop a traffic management plan to present to Cambridgeshire County Council - more than the event raised for charity last year.
Despite Fenland Council stepping in on this occasion, traffic management costs for future events have to be included in community grant bids.
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The Rose Fair has been the highlight of the Wisbech calendar for more than 40 years. More than 15,000 people come to see the colourful fund-raising spectacle, with coaches full of tourists pouring into Wisbech from across the country.
Councillor Geoff Harper, leader of the council, said: "We were not about to let it go to the wall because of this latest piece of poorly thought out legislation.
"Worthy charity events like the Rose Fair were not supposed to be crippled by bureaucracy in this way. There are community events up and down the country that are shutting down because they cannot afford to pay the cost of funding these traffic management responsibilities and it is totally ridiculous.
"We have stepped in to help the Rose Fair at the eleventh hour, but in future it looks like event organisers are going to have to build these costs into their community grant bids."
The new Road Traffic Act was drawn up to stop utility companies from digging up roads and causing unnecessary disruption to traffic.
In last year's parade, a car struck the Clarkson Infant School float and narrowly avoided bringing down scaffolding poles outside the Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum. Five people were injured in the collision.
Cambridgeshire County Council advertises road closures and checks closures are correctly in place. They are then enforced by police.
A spokesman said: "We normally charge £850 for an event. However, if it is a charitable event, we waive that fee. In the case of the Rose Fair, that's what we have done.