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Will new charges for road closures lead to event cancellations?
6:00am Thursday 19th December 2013 in News
Communities and groups who hold events which involve closing streets, marking out secure areas or ensuring people are safe, will now be charged by Cornwall Council
Until now the Council says it has spent about £175,000 per year providing a free service, however the scale of the financial cuts facing the council means that it can "no longer continue to do this and a series of charges will be introduced for the service from January 2014".
The council says that during the public consultation which took place earlier this year many event organisers told the Council that such charges would affect the quality and sustainability of their events.
And while it says it understands these concerns, and "have made efforts to keep the charges as low as possible", they realise that there will be a "negative effect" and hope that organisers will be able to find resources to cover these new charges.
“I deeply regret being obliged to introduce charges which may deter many - especially smaller - communities from holding events which are the cement of our communities” said Bert Biscoe, the council’s cabinet member for transportation and waste.
“The life of communities relies upon people coming together to celebrate, commemorate and to express themselves both individually and together. The street has always played a huge part in this, at least since the days of the Ordinalia presented by Trade Guilds in the medieval period (when streets were mostly first laid out).
“These charges will also affect our economy. However, in the current circumstances, we can see no alternative. I hope that our successors will, in time, see fit to restore freedom of self-expression to communities by removing these charges when it may be prudent to do so.”
The new charges range from £40 for events which have less than 5,000 people, to £90 for larger events. Promoters of commercial events will be expected to pay the full cost. Street Parties and Remembrance Day parades will not be subject to any charge.
The Council is happy to provide local councils with 'Road Closed' signs which they can store and use. This will reduce the costs of deployment in future. No waiting cones are also available for a charge.
A wide range of services across the Council, Visit Cornwall and emergency services are involved in supporting, regulating and enforcing event activities.
A spokesman added: "To ensure that event organisers are supported in a way that is structured and avoids duplication of effort and to provide maximum support for successful event planning and event safety, an event notification process has been established.
"The event notification process provides a single point of contact for event organisers, local safety advisory group support, web pages dedicated to assist event planning, promotion and financial support opportunities."
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