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Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 14:26 GMT
Notting Hill carnival move proposed
Notting Hill Carnival
The streets of Notting Hill may see less of the carnival
The Notting Hill Carnival could loosen ties to its traditional west London home in one of the city's most fashionable areas and move part of the festivities to Hyde Park in central London.

Open ground near Wormwood Scrubs prison in west London is another possible venue for a so-called 'Carnival Savannah' recommended in a report by a group set up to review safety at the event.

It has proposed extensive restructuring of the carnival, which is over 40 years old, but said the event should maintain its links with Notting Hill with most of the daytime activities remaining in the west London suburb.

Last year's carnival was marred by two murders on the evening of the second day.

Clare Holder
Clare Holder: "Nature of carnival will not change"

The violence led to claims that the event was not being properly policed because officers were afraid of accusations of racism if they made arrests.

But that was denied by the Metropolitan police's deputy commissioner, Ian Blair, who is a member of the review group.

He welcomed the review group's report as a step forward to ensuring the future of the Notting Hill carnival.

"Like the other key agencies, our priority is and will always be the safety and security of those people who take part in and come to enjoy this world-renowned event as well as those who live in the area,'" Mr Blair said.

'Public funding vital'

Apart from the partial relocation the report also recommends other methods to improve safety.

Lee Jasper
Lee Jasper wants continued public funding

They include cutting back on the number of large commercial vehicles in processions and the allocation of a police officer to each band or float to help ease congestion.

Lee Jasper, the chair of the review group and the race advisor to the Mayor of London, said continuation of public funding was vital to ensure safety.

"The carnival should not be forced to rely on sponsorship to pay for security men," he said.

The chief executive of the Notting Hill Carnival Trust, Clare Holder, emphasised the carnival would remain a street-based festival in spite of the changes.

Cy Ford
Cy Ford: 'Many residents find carnival an inconvenience"
"It will still be held in the streets but we want to lessen the density of crowds. We will be using Hyde Park as an additional resource," she said.

A Notting Hill residents' representative, Cy Ford, welcomed the report. He said that many residents, especially the elderly, were greatly inconvenienced by the annual festival.

"There is a lot of good stuff in the report but we hope there will not be too long a delay before we get some action," he said.

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