For many years and up to 2017 traffic control and road closures were managed by the Police which enabled Royal British Legion (Regional branches) to organise and undertake a public parade through their towns and villages in an act of remembrance and respect with the laying of wreaths at their War Memorials.
Unfortunately due to costs and budget cuts the Police with a number of exceptions Nationwid (London, Ely) e withdrew this public service on Remembrance Sundays. As consequence there has been much discourse , debate and arguments as to what Authority retains the custody ‘ownership’ for and responsibility of this Day.
Soham Town Council has always supported the activities of its local (Soham) Branch however due to its own staff resource limitations was not able to undertake the activities and cover that previously provided by the Police in road closures. Soham Town Council therefore paid those costs associated with the temporary traffic management orders (TTMO’s) for private Contractors to close the roads in Soham to enable the road Parade to carry on. Soham British Legion members acted as its volunteers for this particular element of the days’ events. Once at St Andrews gates the Branch (under its National Executive’s own Public Insurances) became responsible for the elements of the church service and also any afternoon refreshments provided by its own helpers and volunteers.
For health and Safety reasons the route and road closures requires a minimum of ten (10) ideally twelve (12) volunteer Marshalls to be in attendance on the day. Currently there are no members of the public who are available and wish to volunteers for these Duties. Soham Town Council would welcome residents who wish to be trained to undertake this annual community activity as well as others such as festive lights installation. For more details about volunteering please click here.
Other parish and town councils have not adopted this mutually cooperative but discrete level of liability and responsibility to those component parts to the Day due primarily to the costs associated with public road closures and the requirements made by their own insurance companies. Due to these difficulties and issues there are only a few Parish or Town Council’s who have applied for a TTMO this year in 2021 to undertake a Parade. For summary of what remains a complex position please click here. If the Police would undertake these civic Duties then these difficulties would be removed as they have the Powers and importantly retain the manpower to close roads.
Soham Town Council under these conditions has been able to support there being a parade in Soham. However last year (2020) was affected by COVID and this year (2021) due to the issues highlighted Soham RBL Local Branch decided to test out a new and hopefully sustainable ‘static’ display known as a Drum Head service after which refreshments will be provided for invited guests. Soham Town Council is pleased to support RBL Soham Branch in its decision by providing the venue for this activity free of charge and where its Mayor will be an invited guest and looks forward to receiving feedback from residents on these changes in due course.