Halloween walk goes ahead despite council hold-up

PUBLISHED: 19:00 28 October 2010

Halloween candlelight procession in Wapping in 2009

Halloween candlelight procession in Wapping in 2009

Carmen Valino

An alternative Halloween procession takes place in Wapping this Sunday despite the council dragging their heels before granting permission to its church organisers.

The Night of Lights procession will see over 100 parents and children walk along a 100m stretch of Wapping Lane, which will be closed to traffic, holding lanterns and candles.

But Lucy Knights, 34, of St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Green Bank, who is organising the walk for its congregation, only found out yesterday that the council had accepted her application for an order allowing police to close the road, despite applying in early September.

She said the road will only have to be closed for 10 to 15 minutes.

The office of Jim Fitzpatrick MP for Poplar and Limehouse also contacted the council this week to find out why there had been a delay.

Lucy said: “We held the walk last year and there were no problems at all.

“The idea is to show that there is an alternative to traditional Halloween activities.

“It means children can still go out and enjoy themselves while staying safe.

“If it’s something we hadn’t done right, the council should have told us. Why did it take so long?”

The council’s Highways Department queried if the procession was the right type of event to qualify for a Traffic Management Order, which they have the power to grant, with Limehouse Police.

Police planning officers and the council have been negotiating for the last year over what traffic orders should be used on different types of events.

Sergeant Andy Fittes, of Limehouse Police Station’s planning office, said: “It was unlucky for Lucy that she came along during these negotiations.

“This could be a test case though and in the future, we could say you let this event go ahead so why not this one.”

A council spokesman said the order had not been denied and the council had queried some of the technical arrangements.

The procession will form a loop around Green Bank, Tench Street, Watts Lane and Wapping Lane before finishing back at the church and will start at 4pm.

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