Concerns are growing that organisers of Remembrance Sunday commemorations in Harrow could be sent enormous bills by the Council, as the result of a new charging scheme for using parks and highways. Last week the Pinner Association warned it could face bills of over £2,500 for organising its annual run of free concerts, and raised concerns about other community events. The Council’s Labour administration says it is currently consulting on the proposed charging scheme, but has now refused to rule out charging for Remembrance Sunday commemorations.
At November’s Cabinet meeting, portfolio holder Cllr. Graham Henson said: “I’m not going to pre-empt the consultation… we are consulting on set of proposals” – after Conservative Group Leader Cllr. Susan Hall asked specifically whether Remembrance Sunday events would be exempt from any charges.
Cllr. Hall said: “I completely understand why Labour are looking at charging for certain events – the Council isn’t a charity, and when people want to use our parks and other facilities to make a profit or for their own benefit it makes sense for the Council to get something back. But there are also events which are truly for the benefit of the community, and none is more important in this respect than Remembrance Sunday – brining us together to remember those who fought and gave their lives for us.”
Cllr. Hall concluded: “Recognising the importance of Remembrance Sunday and exempting it from the charges won’t interfere with the rest of the consultation. Therefore, I sincerely hope the administration will think again, and make it clear this vital day of commemoration will not be used to pad the Council’s coffers.”