Fury has erupted in a Welsh town after a Remembrance Day parade had to be cancelled because the council deemed it “too pricey” to close a road. For decades, locals in the market town of Caldicot in Monmouthshire have looked forward to the popular Sunday parade so they can pay their respects to fallen soldiers. But this year they have been left furious by a decision from the council to call it off over cost concerns.
Town Councillors have said regrettably the decision was taken after Gwent Police pulled out of managing the closures of the road for the parade in 2020. Last year, the closures were managed by a private company commissioned by the council, but this year it has been decided the cost of doing it again would be too high.
The council previously closed the main road through Caldicot for the parade before a service at St Mary’s Church in the town. That service will continue, along with the Sunset Service at 4pm and another event in the town centre on November 11.
But local residents have taken to social media and have exploded with rage over the decision to cancel the Remembrance Day Parade. Wendy Bowart said: “I am a Cub leader and would like everyone to know that there will be no Remembrance Day parade at Caldicot.
“The fact there is no parade disgusts me. Every year we parade and pay our respects to the fallen. What’s different about this year?”
Town councillor Benjamin Harris said that although the parade went ahead last year, this time around “we can’t get a road closure order because it was agreed that it was too pricey”.
He said: “We are all saddened it can’t go ahead. Unfortunately the police no longer man the closures. Last year the town council provided private security to do the parade.
“That went ahead and they closed the road, but this year, unfortunately, we can’t get a road closure order because it was agreed that it was too pricey. A security element had to be provided. It was decided that because of the cost of logistics, this year it wouldn’t go ahead.
Mr Harris added: “Next year it is planned to be back, Monmouthshire council will provide training to individuals so we won’t need private security companies for the parade.
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“It’s unfortunate that cost issues have resulted in this, but as a council we decided that, especially with the ongoing cost of living crisis, it was better to not go ahead and authorise so much money for it. We all understand how emotive this subject is – I have had a few emails myself about it.
“I completely sympathise with the thoughts and feelings of everyone expressing concern. It’s a part of Caldicot history and of course it should be preserved. I didn’t realise it would kick off as much as it has. But we have to think about the budget and we have to think about the cost of people’s council tax next year too.”
Peter Strong, the county councillor for Rogiet and Caldicot town councillor, insisted the decision to cancel the Remembrance Day parade was taken with the full knowledge of the church and the Royal British Legion.
He said: “People should be reassured that there will be proper tributes to the fallen in Caldicot this year. There will not just be a service in the morning at the church but also a service in the afternoon on Sunday and more on Friday. Of course, I would like to see the parade go ahead again next year.”
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A spokesperson for The Royal British Legion said: “A parade can be an element of a Remembrance event; but this is not the event itself.
“There are other aspects which include the laying of wreaths, readings, and a moment of silence which can be carried out without the need for road closures.
“Remembrance is about bringing communities and individuals together to participate in their own way, to honour the sacrifices of the Armed Forces community, past and present.”