Time is running out for organisers of the event to replace Spalding’s Flower Parade.
A special meeting is being held tonight (Thursday) so the handful of committee members left after months of talks can decide whether enough has been done for the new People’s Parade to go ahead on May Bank Holiday Saturday, or it is time to pull the plug on it - at least for another year.
Back in November, organisers were taking the bull by the horns to offer spectators something more relevant to Spalding today, without the health and safety issues of using moving vehicles.
A similar parade to the Stamford Bull Run, using hand-pulled displays, was agreed and someone was even found to build the trolleys, with local groups, businesses and schools keen to take part.
However, since then there has been a series of blows that have thrown plans into disarray – one of the main ones being Spalding Flower Parade and Carnival Trust’s remaining funds have not been transferred, in spite of trustees being “very positive about transfer of responsibility to the new group”.
Trustee Adrian Jansen said: “There are legal processes that need to be adhered to and the new group has to satisfy present trustees that they are competent to take over the running of the trust. To date, this has not happened.”
In addition, response was not as expected when Paul Winn, People’s Parade chairman, went cap in hand to a Spalding Town Forum meeting. Concern was expressed over the date, May 3, being the same Saturday as the Flower Parade used to be. Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said: “Our initial support was for a summer festival and something that would bring people to the town centre so shops and businesses could benefit, which was one of the downsides of the flower parade because they did no business as shoppers avoided the crowds.
“You can’t hold the event on the same day as the flower parade without taking on all of the concerns associated with it. Police will see the potential that spectators who always came up for the flower festival will see something is going on that weekend and decide to have a look.
“Then suddenly the costs of managing the event escalates to £15-20,000.
“When Mr Winn asked for funds at the Town Forum meeting our concern was for the vagueness of the plans at this stage. We need to show that taxpayers’ money is being used correctly.
“The last thing we want is for the committee to lose heart. Maybe they should just take it as a learning curve and start from now to organise something for next year.”
Mr Winn said: “Our main concern is we still have no money. MP John Hayes promised to raise some, but in spite of his efforts there are still no firm offers of cash. It’s now down to the committee to decide whether to go ahead or call it a day.”