Bid to avoid Northampton carnival frustration in 2015

Northampton Carnival, Northampton Town Centre. NNL-140614-191026009
Northampton Carnival, Northampton Town Centre. NNL-140614-191026009

Moves to avoid a repeat of Northampton carnival’s last minute venue and route change have been made by the borough council, which has pledged to work more closely with its organisers in the future.

Thousands enjoyed the yearly colourful parade as it headed through the town centre in June.

But organisers, Northampton Carnival Arts Consortium, faced a fraught fortnight in the run-up to the event.

The committee of volunteer were told little more than two weeks before the big day that they could not end the 1,000 strong parade at Delapre Park due to water drainage problems there.

It was forced to use Far Cotton Recreation Ground, which meant they had to inform a host of stalls and vendors that the venue had changed.

There was also trouble on parade day itself - as the procession route had to be altered because of roadworks from last year so the floats travelled down Fish Street to get to St Giles Street.

Traffic came to a standstill in the town centre in the middle of the parade and one lorry was forced to make a three-point turn outside The Guildhall.

But at Monday night’s full council meeting the borough council resolved to work with the committee from September to put plans in place for 2015.

Speaking on the Labour proposed motion, Councillor Danielle Stone (Lab, Castle) said: “I was shocked and horrified that their arrangements changed with two weeks notice. It put immense pressure on the volunteers that organise this.

“We are a local authority - it’s our job to support them.”

She went on to say: “Lots of things were wrong - that wasn’t the carnival organisers’ problem. We had wagons that were too big on roads that were too small.”

However the chamber agreed an amendment to the motion which placed onus on the organisers to submit its full proposals - including road closures - by December.

Cabinet member for community engagement, Councillor Brandon Eldred (Con, East Hunsbury) also said the consortium were told that the council might change the venue within a two weeks of the event in case bad weather was forecast.

“We had all the route ready and the diagrams ready for that option B.”