Cottesmore protest march is called off
A PROTEST march to fight the Government's decision to close RAF Cottesmore has been called off due to safety concerns.
The Campaign to Save RAF Cottesmore group had hoped to march through the streets of Cottesmore up to the air base on Sunday, April 11.
But following meetings with Leicestershire Constabulary and the RAF Police, the group was told the march would present "significant risks" to those taking part.
The group was also informed that access to RAF Cottesmore could be restricted if large crowds descended on the village.
The disappointed campaign group said it would continue to campaign vigorously for its cause but would postpone any direct action for the time being.
Campaign chairman Neil Allison said: "The police voiced concerns about a huge number of people descending on a relatively small area, and the risk this could present in terms of traffic incidents and to personal safety.
"As a responsible campaign team we fully understood these concerns and were only to happy to compromise."
According to Mr Allison, the police suggested Cutts Close in Oakham as a suitable alternative venue for a gathering, followed by a reduced size delegation heading to the gates of RAF Cottesmore for media purposes.
However, Oakham Town Council refused permission for the use of Cutts Close, which it owns, much to the anger of Mr Allison.
He said: "We were very disappointed with the council's response over the use of public land.
"It met all the criteria for what we were aiming to achieve, namely a peaceful and professionally organised opposition to the closure of the base."
Oakham Town Council has refused to state what its objections were and declined to comment on Mr Allison's criticism.
Meanwhile, Mr Allison made a rallying cry to the campaigners.
He said: "With the general election looming, and our support continuing to swell, along with our media coverage, we will move forward to drive the message home that the decision to close RAF Cottesmore is wrong.
"We will not be put off by local bureaucracy and have lots of different lines to pursue."
The group has a petition with more than 2,700 signatures, found at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/SAVECOTTESMORE.
It also has campaign running on social network campaign website Facebook with more than 17,000 supporters. Find out further information at www.saverafcottesmore.org.uk
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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