Council to charge for road closure notices

TOWNS and villages across Mid Beds could be hit in the pocket when they want road closures in the future. Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) is introducing charges for certain events including fairs and the switching on of Christmas lights if roads have t

TOWNS and villages across Mid Beds could be hit in the pocket when they want road closures in the future.

Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) is introducing charges for certain events including fairs and the switching on of Christmas lights if roads have to be closed.

But it has decided not to enforce the costs when it comes to closures for Remembrance Day parades to cover the cost of public announcements in local newspapers.

The council plan was immediately slammed by two town mayors, Paul Mackin at Shefford and Hugh Harper at Arlesey.

"Central Beds says it is a policy issue. That is stupid and disgusting. Last weekend Henry Harris who runs the charter fair here had to pay �920 to publicise the road closure, something he has never had to do before," said Cllr Mackin.

"We have never paid for road closure notices in the past. We will have to spend �150 on a public notice for a road closure when our Christmas lights are switched on, money that will be taken away from the collections we make for charity.

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"The whole business is a farce and has made a lot of people very angry. I have written a letter of complaint to the council but whether it will change their minds, God knows."

Cllr Harper was equally angry saying: "The claims were not expected and also angered a lot of people here. I am glad to hear it will not affect Remembrance Day parades because that would have been an utter disgrace."

Cllr David McVicar, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities at CBC, said: "Central Bedfordshire Council will always offer help and assistance to any group requesting a road closure. Although there are road closure charges to all profit-making organisations, under the Special Events Order, if the event is run purely for charity, there is no charge other than the advertising cost of �150. Central Bedfordshire Council will not be charging for Remembrance Day road closures.