Hope for Wesham after near-cancellation of Remembrance Sunday parade

The annual Remembrance Sunday parade in Wesham was on the verge of cancellation after changes to policing meant the town was without accredited officials to close the roads.

Monday, 21st October 2019, 3:51 pm
This is the first year police will not facilitate road closures at Wesham Remembrance Sunday parade.

In previous years police have been able to facilitate the road closures required to carry out the parade, but residents were panicked by news that this year the police would no longer be able to do so.

Without police assistance to marshal the road closures, a LANTRA accredited marshal was required to facilitate the parade, and the town found themselves without any suitably accredited volunteers.

But now Wyre council have stepped in to save the Fylde town's parade.

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Fylde residents took to social media to appeal for volunteers, but it was neighbouring Wyre council who were required to contact marshals they had already trained a few years previously in the hope someone could assist.

LANTRA accredited marshal Jay Higham answered the pleas of the town and stepped up to help on Remembrance Sunday- November 10.

Wesham town councillor and deputy mayor Stuart Harrison said: "We have had huge support from locals, and we are now hoping that one volunteer will be enough to allow the parade to go ahead.

"This event grows every year, it's always so heartwarming to see, because Wesham has such a history with military forces."

The event notice will be resubmitted to Lancashire county council in light of the volunteering offer from Mr Higham, in hope the event can continue, Mr Harrison said.

Chris Wyatt, events development officer at Wyre council said: "We try and broker accredited training for event marshals at the beginning of each year, funding permitted.

"Unfortunately we can only allocate places for training through LANTRA for Wyre based volunteers, but as is the case with Wesham Remembrance parade, we do have some very supportive people who will assist in neighbouring events.

"As an events development officer it is so important to retain these traditional and poignant events, and this includes the myriad of galas and carnivals that take place across the Fylde coast districts- this is our history, custom, heritage and remembrance."

Accredited marshals to facilitate road closures have long been a requirement of the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847, to "prevent obstructions in all times of public processions, rejoicings, or illuminations."

Medlar-with-Wesham councillor Alan Clayton said: "The withdrawal of the Police for this years service has created major difficulties.

"However, through the efforts of many people responding to a media plea to help, it appears that we will now be able to provide authorised marshalling, for which I am most grateful.

"During the years, the town has responded resulting in a marvellous turnout, including, the Town and Borough Council, the Scout organisation, the Guide association, the local schools, the local Churches and many more."

A spokesman for Fylde council said: “Whilst the Police have previously provided support for events of national significance, they are unfortunately no longer in a position to do so and the responsibility for traffic management now rests with the Event Organiser.

"Fylde council have supported marshal training in the past, and will continue to look into the cost effectiveness of such training, as well as maintaining the highest levels of safety during these events.”

A spokesman for Lancashire police said: “People will appreciate that there are a very large number of these events taking place across the county.

"Historically the police were requested to take a leading role in marshalling many parades and this led to the misconception that we have powers to close roads for public events, when, in fact, we do not; pre-planned road closure notices can only be obtained from the relevant local authority.

“It is the responsibility of the organiser to ensure that relevant road closure orders are secured and in place ahead of the event.

“Lancashire Constabulary will continue to support events where there is a policing purpose, or a civic duty to discharge, and we will support event organisers with advice in those regards.

"That support would be on the understanding that an event which involves stopping or redirecting traffic must have an appropriate traffic management plan, including the necessary closure orders, and marshalling provision in place.

“Lancashire Constabulary has adopted the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) – ‘Operational Advice for Event Policing’ and the associated NPCC Public Order Authorised Professional Practice, which supports this approach.

“Specifically, whilst we will continue to perform our civic duty at Remembrance Parades, planning for those events should not include an assumption that assistance or responsibility for traffic management will sit with Police; for the reasons outlined above, this would not be lawful nor practicable.

“However, we would encourage the signposting to event organisers of the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership (LVP) who have various options and availability to assist local events and groups."