Businessman steps in to save scout parade

A BUSINESSMAN who once carried the flag during a scouting event has stepped in to save a St George’s Day parade after it emerged organisers had been slapped with an �800 council bill.

Earlier this week, the EADT exclusively revealed how the Bury St Edmunds District Scouts group might have to scrap its annual parade after it received and unexpected bill from St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

In previous years, Suffolk police has shut the road off on an informal basis. But because of growing numbers Suffolk police said it was no longer willing to help out unless roads along the parade route, including Angel Hill, were formally closed.

As a result, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which would close the road, said it would cost �800 - a tab which would have to be picked up by the scouts.

Within hours of the EADT breaking the story, estate agency owner David Burr got in touch offering to cover the �800 cost.

His offer of help has been gratefully received by the scouts who are now looking forward to the parade on April 25.

Mr Burr, who has offices in his name at Castle Hedingham, Clare, Leavenheath, Long Melford and Woolpit, said: “One would like to think the council will step back and waive the fee.

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“It is St George’s Day parade and he is supposed to be our national patron saint - it is something worth celebrating. It is something we felt happy to support and celebrate.

“I can remember carrying the flag myself on a scout parade and it does instill pride and a sense of self worth.”

Deputy mayor Bob Cockle, who spoke out on behalf of Bury scouts in raising the issue, said he and the scouts could not thank Mr Burr enough.

He said he was stunned by the generosity of Mr Burr.

Explaining the charge, a council spokeswoman said: “The police have informed us that they will no longer close the relevant roads informally as they have concerns about traffic, the scale of this parade and ages of those taking part.

“To comply with the relevant legislation concerning formal road closures we need people to deal with the signs and security barriers, formal advertising and so on, all of which has a cost to the council tax payer.”

A police spokesman said: “Proportionate policing of this parade will be provided and local officers are working with the local authority and the Scouting Association ahead of St George’s Day.”