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Britannia Coconut Dancers SAVED by 1847 Act
A 200-YEAR-OLD traditional clog dance has been saved after Rossendale councillors invoked a long-forgotten law.
The Britannia Coconut Dancers’ annual Easter Saturday procession through Bacup and Stacksteads was under threat after Lancashire Constabulary refused to marshal the event's crowds and rolling road closures.
Lancashire County Council bosses had told the Coconutters to either appoint a traffic management company, at a cost of around £4,000, or alternatively, they would appoint one and send the troupe the bill.
To prevent the popular attraction having to be cancelled indefinitely, councillors Sean Serridge and Jackie Oakes invoked the 1847 Towns and Police Clauses Act, meaning there would be no charge for marshaling and road closures.
Neville Earnshaw, Coconutters' treasurer, said: “We are extremely pleased with the outcome, and very grateful to Sean, Jackie, and council leader Alyson Barnes.
“It’s certainly better than what we were looking at, which was the end of the processional dance as we know it.
“To ensure we’ll be able to keep the event going in the coming years, we’re going to have at least six stewards trained to county council-level standard, and marshal it ourselves.”
The cash to pay for stewarding this Easter’s dance will be taken from the Member’s Contingency Fund, which allows councillors to access money for highways, outside of the usual commissioning process.
County Coun Sean Serridge said: “I’m absolutely delighted that we’re working together with the Coconutters, and we’ve managed to ensure that the annual dance can continue.
“They are an asset to Bacup, and it’s only right that we should do all we can to ensure such important traditions are able to continue.
“Working with the leader of the borough council, Alyson Barnes, we are looking at how we can ensure the long-term future of the dance.”