Page last updated at 19:00 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 20:00 UK

Safety row threatens poppy parade

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Health and safety regulations have forced a change in route for the remembrance parade in Newbridge, Caerphilly

An annual Remembrance Day parade is under threat because of a row over health and safety concerns.

For more than 80 years the town of Newbridge has shown its respect for those who died in wars with a march around the streets to a local church.

But this year they have been told to amend their route, something the local British Legion say will reduce it to a "short walk" and a "farce".

Caerphilly Council says it wants to resolve the matter urgently.

The march traditionally takes place along several streets in a circuit of the town, visiting a church and chapel on alternate years.

President of the Newbridge branch of the Royal British Legion, Bill Pinney said the row started because the council wanted to move the parade from its usual starting point in the centre of town, to stop congestion.

But he says if they are confined to a short walk along the high street, the Legion say they will cancel the parade

Poppy Appeal organiser Ken Merriot
Half of Newbridge wouldn't see the parade go by
Ken Merriot, Poppy Appeal organiser

Safety

"Since just after World War I the Newbridge parade has always assembled in this spot," said Mr Pinney.

"What they are saying is that under health and safety regulations, because it is a public event they would have to put closures on the surrounding roadways."

Poppy Appeal organiser Ken Merriot said it was unfair to shorten the parade route.

"Half of Newbridge wouldn't see the parade go by. It would make it a farce" he said.

"We understand that health and safety has got to come into things, but it is such a low risk parade that it doesn't warrant the road closures that have been proposed by the council."

The council has also asked the Legion to change the format and have the wreath-laying ceremony before the church service.

"The time limit imposed on us makes that impossible," added Mr Pinney.

Commitment

A Caerphilly Council spokesman said: "We are disappointed to hear that the Newbridge branch of the Royal British Legion has rejected the compromise that was reached by local branch representatives.

"We were notified of the decision and have now agreed to meet again with a view to resolving as a matter of urgency.

"The council has made a commitment that no costs will be incurred for the organisation of this important community event and we continue to support these plans."




SEE ALSO
Fury at plan to move war memorial
09 Oct 08 |  Cornwall

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