THE organisers of Barnstaple's annual carnival have cast doubts over its future Carnival committee chairman Mel Lovering told the Gazette that redevelopment plans in Barnstaple had caused very real concern" that the carnival could be kicked out of town.

THE organisers of Barnstaple's annual carnival have cast doubts over its futureCarnival committee chairman Mel Lovering told the Gazette that redevelopment plans in Barnstaple had caused "very real concern" that the carnival could be "kicked out of town."She said that changes to the town - including developments at Seven Brethren, Anchorwood Bank, The Strand, and Queen Street and Bear Street - were forcing the committee to examine alternative arrangements for the event, held in the town to raise money for local charities since 1936."Although Barnstaple Town Council has been very supportive, we have had no consultation or reassurances from the county or district councils that the carnival will be safe," said Miss Lovering."Planning and highways authorities are making it extremely difficult for Barnstaple to hold a carnival."She said that due to redevelopment of Seven Brethren, the fair was expected to move to the Civic Centre car park and Castle Green after this September's event. That would mean organisers would be unable to use the car park as a meeting point from which more than 50 floats set off down the Strand and around the town."This year's carnival will go ahead as normal, but we are currently looking at other options for a new route for 2009," added Miss Lovering."We will be discussing the route at the carnival committee's next meeting in April, but one idea being looked at is the possibility of using Taw Vale as a meeting point for floats, and starting the procession from the Albert Clock." She went on to outline a number of other new hurdles that were threatening to put a dampener on the town's traditional parade."This year, for the first time, we have had to pay Devon County Council's Highways department £160 to apply for a road closure."We have to pay £800 for barriers, we have to provide 16 road closure signs, and need to pay more than £600 for insurance."New Department for Transport tachograph legislation means that our volunteer lorry drivers who drive the floats on a Saturday are unable to drive again until 2pm on the following Monday."We also have to think about finding a new site to set off the fireworks, as the Shapland site at Anchorwood is also due to be developed. If Barnstaple wants its carnival to continue, we really do need local Barnstaple businesses to support us," she added. "There are lots of ways that companies can help out, please give the committee a call on (01271) 376909. Last year, the carnival raised £3,000 for many good local causes." A county council spokesman said: "We are committed to supporting community events and we will be looking to meet with the carnival committee to address its concerns."Malcolm Easton, of North Devon Council said: "We hope to work with the carnival committee to ensure arrangements can be put in place to safeguard the event in future years.