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Concerns over closures

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale

CONCERNS have been voiced over the detrimental impact road closure charges could have on festivals and galas in the area.

Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray has written to Police Scotland’s Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick and has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament after a number of event organisers contacted her to highlight that police are now insisting on enforced road closures for community events such as galas, parades and common ridings – incurring an extra cost.
She said: “Police Scotland’s insistence on road closures and the associated costs are of concern to the organisers of our popular local events.
“Our gala days, common ridings and riding of the marches are historic events which are treasured by local people across this region.”
She wants officers to ‘use a bit of commonsense’ in deciding to close roads.
But Assistant Chief Constable Bernie Higgins has hit back saying Police Scotland has ‘absolutely no desire to place in jeopardy the future of community events’.
He said: “Where a community organisation applies to a local authority to stage an event which requires the closure of a road, a temporary traffic regulation order must be put in place to ensure the police have the lawful ability to control the traffic.
“The charges in relation to this relate to administration costs around advertising the road closure, often in the local press, and are incurred by local authorities. They are not charges levied by Police Scotland.”

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