Cornwall Council to introduce charges for street closures during public events
Cornwall Council has announced plans to charge communities and groups holding events which require street closures, such as carnivals and street processions.
The council has apologised but said the charges are necessary due to ongoing budget cuts.
In a statement it said: “We are very sorry that, in the financial circumstances, it is becoming necessary to charge communities and groups to hold events which involve managing the street by closure, marking out secure areas and ensuring people are safe.
“Until now the Council has spent about £175,000 per year providing a free service. 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.”
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Following a public consultation earlier this year, many event organisers told the council the charges would affect the quality and sustainability of their events.
The council said it will aim to keep the costs as low as possible.
“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).”
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.
The council said street parties and Remembrance Day parades will not be subject to any charge.
Mr Biscoe added: “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 Council said it will provide local councils with 'Road Closed' signs which they can store and use, which should reduce the costs of deployment in future.
‘No waiting cones’ will also be available for a small charge.