ALTRINCHAM’S annual St George’s Day Scout parade has been cancelled after a mix up over who would cover the cost of marshalling the popular event.

Youngsters in scouts, cub and beaver groups across the Altrincham district only found out earlier this week that the usual march through the town’s streets, which has taken place every year since the 1950s, had been cancelled.

“Everybody’s been saying it’s everybody else’s fault,” the scouts Altrincham district chairman, Hugh Davies, told SAM. “We applied for the parade 12 months ago, and I had written confirmation in November from the council’s highways department, and verbal permission from the local inspector for Altrincham, Simon Wright, to say he was happy with it.

“It was only in March I was asked to fill in more forms by the police, and then the council got in touch to say that the police were not marshalling the event.”

Despite desperate attempts by the scouts to access grant funding to pay for the event - the council quoted £795 - the money was not available at short notice, forcing the march’s cancellation.

More worryingly though, Hugh told SAM the event may well never happen again if the movement has to pay for future marches on cost reasons alone.

“We have to pay for a marching band and other sundries, so this additional expense would take the figure to over a thousand pounds. To afford it we’d need a lot more support in future,” he warned.

The news has dismayed locals looking forward to Sunday’s now cancelled event. “I think it’s really sad,” said mum-of-two Sharon Stroud from Timperley, whose two sons both usually take part in the parade.

“They want us to be patriotic and then the police do this. It’s a lovely tradition, and usually a really nice day with people coming out onto the streets to watch.

“I’m really cross as it’s such a nice thing for the local community,” she added.

A council spokesperson said: “Owing to a a change in traffic management legislation, all events including community events that include a parade will have to have traffic management in place.

"This service is not provided by the council and therefore a professional traffic management company has to be paid for by the event organisers.

"The council can work with groups to secure funding to cover the professional costs. On this occasion, however, the request for support came to the attention of the council's event's team too late to be able to support the group to get funding for the events taking place this year.

"The timescale to find such finances to pay for the traffic management service is very tight, it ordinarily takes around 4 months, and there is an obvious health and safety concern.

“The council has already offered to support community groups in securing funding for services of this nature next year to ensure all events can run smoothly and safely. If you are a group interested in organising a parade or event for next year we would urge you to contact us as soon as possible on 912 4282.”

Sergeant Steve Lewis of Trafford’s Sporting and Special Events Office said: “Under the Traffic Management Act of 2004, Greater Manchester Police cannot provide officers for the purpose of managing traffic for events as a general duty, particularly in relation to parades.

“However, Greater Manchester Police will support events where there is a traffic management plan in place.”