Lancashire TelegraphRed tape threat to Bacup morris dancers (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Red tape threat to Bacup morris dancers

Lancashire Telegraph: The Bacup Coconutters The Bacup Coconutters

HEALTH and safety red tape is forcing a 156-year-old Morris dancing troupe into financial difficulty, it claims.

The Britannia Coconut Dancers, based in Bacup, claim they are being forced to send volunteers on training courses costing them more than £600 — to learn how to operate a road sign.

The group, which donates all of its proceeds to charity, also has to pay £1,000 road closure fees for the first time after police said they would no longer man rolling roadblocks.

The Nutters’ boundary-to-boundary dance traditionally takes place on Easter Saturday over a 12 hour period, taking in various pubs and locations in the town.

Instead of stewards using hand signals to control traffic, the Nutters have been asked by Lancashire County Council to send at least three members on a health and safety course to learn how to use manually-operated stop and go signs Secretary Joe Healey said: “We have sought legal advice and consulted with (national organisers) The Morris Ring and we believe our procession is exempt from the legislation. It’s not really fair. Time is running short now and all of our volunteers, the caretakers of our tradition, don’t know if it’s going to ahead.”

Daniel Herbert, head of local network management at Lancashire County Council, said: “Until last year, the police provided support for stewarding the event. However, as the police are no longer able to do this, the Britannia Coconutters will have to apply for the road to be closed and to provide appropriately trained stewards.

“Officers from the county council, Rossendale Council and the police met with the dancers last August and explained what they would need to do for the event to go ahead.

“The road closure is being funded by local county councillors but have asked in return that the org-anisers provide and pay for stewards.

“Discussions are continuing.”

Comments (28)

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4:35pm Fri 1 Feb 13

the usher says...

This is yet another crazy health and safety ruling. They are making life a misery with their stupid decisions stopping folks doing something that has gone on for many, many years without any harm to anyone. Just shows these people in their ivory towers thinking of other laws to bring in. Life was better and more pleasureable behore these interferring people got involved.
This is yet another crazy health and safety ruling. They are making life a misery with their stupid decisions stopping folks doing something that has gone on for many, many years without any harm to anyone. Just shows these people in their ivory towers thinking of other laws to bring in. Life was better and more pleasureable behore these interferring people got involved. the usher
  • Score: 1

4:39pm Fri 1 Feb 13

her from here says...

This is pathetic if we can't look after the coconutters it's time to throw in the towel .They are in everybody's childhood memories and very special to the people of Bacup and beyond. They were dancing long before the traffic arrived and shouldn't have to pay for anything
This is pathetic if we can't look after the coconutters it's time to throw in the towel .They are in everybody's childhood memories and very special to the people of Bacup and beyond. They were dancing long before the traffic arrived and shouldn't have to pay for anything her from here
  • Score: 3

4:43pm Fri 1 Feb 13

billy32 says...

Is this a county wide rule or just in Bacup, you would think as they are doing this for charity they would be exempt for the new rule. Time will tell
Is this a county wide rule or just in Bacup, you would think as they are doing this for charity they would be exempt for the new rule. Time will tell billy32
  • Score: 0

5:22pm Fri 1 Feb 13

BROCKSDAD says...

If the coconutters were anywhere else in europe the would be a protected national treasure, can you imagine the bull run in pamplona being resticted under such stupid H&E rules
If the coconutters were anywhere else in europe the would be a protected national treasure, can you imagine the bull run in pamplona being resticted under such stupid H&E rules BROCKSDAD
  • Score: -1

5:40pm Fri 1 Feb 13

pwitch says...

Who is going to get paid the £600 each for this training and why can the road workers get the job done when they use these signs - I bet they don't pay such a large amount to do the signage job. Crazy regulations - surely a community policeman could do it - doesn't have to be a regular policeman does it? More investigation needed into this I think. Can we raise a petition? Has anybody contacted the MP?
Who is going to get paid the £600 each for this training and why can the road workers get the job done when they use these signs - I bet they don't pay such a large amount to do the signage job. Crazy regulations - surely a community policeman could do it - doesn't have to be a regular policeman does it? More investigation needed into this I think. Can we raise a petition? Has anybody contacted the MP? pwitch
  • Score: -1

5:51pm Fri 1 Feb 13

floydbrfc says...

billy32 wrote:
Is this a county wide rule or just in Bacup, you would think as they are doing this for charity they would be exempt for the new rule. Time will tell
No its not county wide as I recently attended a large march through the streets of Blackburn to celebrate one of our prophets
[quote][p][bold]billy32[/bold] wrote: Is this a county wide rule or just in Bacup, you would think as they are doing this for charity they would be exempt for the new rule. Time will tell[/p][/quote]No its not county wide as I recently attended a large march through the streets of Blackburn to celebrate one of our prophets floydbrfc
  • Score: -1

6:09pm Fri 1 Feb 13

happycyclist says...

Why can't police 'specials' do these jobs? They don't get paid anyway.
Why can't police 'specials' do these jobs? They don't get paid anyway. happycyclist
  • Score: 0

6:10pm Fri 1 Feb 13

darwenTower says...

floydbrfc wrote:
billy32 wrote:
Is this a county wide rule or just in Bacup, you would think as they are doing this for charity they would be exempt for the new rule. Time will tell
No its not county wide as I recently attended a large march through the streets of Blackburn to celebrate one of our prophets
Maybe they should dance through Audley Range with their faces blacked up. What do you reckon?
[quote][p][bold]floydbrfc[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]billy32[/bold] wrote: Is this a county wide rule or just in Bacup, you would think as they are doing this for charity they would be exempt for the new rule. Time will tell[/p][/quote]No its not county wide as I recently attended a large march through the streets of Blackburn to celebrate one of our prophets[/p][/quote]Maybe they should dance through Audley Range with their faces blacked up. What do you reckon? darwenTower
  • Score: -1

6:14pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Boo Long says...

What ridiculous healthandsafety nonsense.
The 'Nutters did fine for years with no police escort.. Drivers tend to notice a troupe of dancers in the road and slow down!

But.. *idea*... If the police can't afford to babysit the 'nutters.. surely they can't afford to turn up to stop them doing it without the police there?
I say put it to the test and do the dance with no officialdom there at all.
Reclaim real life from these petty rule-makers by getting on with it.
I'm sure they only make up these daft rules to justify their rule-making jobs which wouldn't exist if they didn't needlessly change things.
:o(
What ridiculous healthandsafety nonsense. The 'Nutters did fine for years with no police escort.. Drivers tend to notice a troupe of dancers in the road and slow down! But.. *idea*... If the police can't afford to babysit the 'nutters.. surely they can't afford to turn up to stop them doing it without the police there? I say put it to the test and do the dance with no officialdom there at all. Reclaim real life from these petty rule-makers by getting on with it. I'm sure they only make up these daft rules to justify their rule-making jobs which wouldn't exist if they didn't needlessly change things. :o( Boo Long
  • Score: 0

6:18pm Fri 1 Feb 13

juanbbien says...

I thought this blacking up of faces like the black and white minstrels used to do was outlawed on the grounds of racial discrimination,or does this not include Bacup
I thought this blacking up of faces like the black and white minstrels used to do was outlawed on the grounds of racial discrimination,or does this not include Bacup juanbbien
  • Score: -2

6:27pm Fri 1 Feb 13

thermio says...

juanbbien wrote:
I thought this blacking up of faces like the black and white minstrels used to do was outlawed on the grounds of racial discrimination,or does this not include Bacup
This was the real reason they closed all the coal mines.
[quote][p][bold]juanbbien[/bold] wrote: I thought this blacking up of faces like the black and white minstrels used to do was outlawed on the grounds of racial discrimination,or does this not include Bacup[/p][/quote]This was the real reason they closed all the coal mines. thermio
  • Score: 2

6:31pm Fri 1 Feb 13

thermio says...

billy32 wrote:
Is this a county wide rule or just in Bacup, you would think as they are doing this for charity they would be exempt for the new rule. Time will tell
It must just be Bacup, or this particular troupe, as Blackburn allows large marches along its streets without any police presence.
[quote][p][bold]billy32[/bold] wrote: Is this a county wide rule or just in Bacup, you would think as they are doing this for charity they would be exempt for the new rule. Time will tell[/p][/quote]It must just be Bacup, or this particular troupe, as Blackburn allows large marches along its streets without any police presence. thermio
  • Score: 0

7:44pm Fri 1 Feb 13

mavrick says...

Just do it, what are they going to do if they actually catch them? I would call their bluff on the H & S grounds.
Just do it, what are they going to do if they actually catch them? I would call their bluff on the H & S grounds. mavrick
  • Score: 0

9:22pm Fri 1 Feb 13

vicn1956 says...

Do these elfnsafety people dare to leave their houses each day?
Give me strength!
Do these elfnsafety people dare to leave their houses each day? Give me strength! vicn1956
  • Score: -1

10:00pm Fri 1 Feb 13

buckoff says...

I think you will find the problem is Council insurance doesn't cover a six fingered Dingle using a Stop and Go sign. That's why they need training and a proper risk assessment. A Dingle with a red and green lollipop now that's scary!!
I think you will find the problem is Council insurance doesn't cover a six fingered Dingle using a Stop and Go sign. That's why they need training and a proper risk assessment. A Dingle with a red and green lollipop now that's scary!! buckoff
  • Score: -1

10:45pm Fri 1 Feb 13

JohnR1 says...

Surely if they all don their regulation yellow jackets, plastic helmets and BSI approved safety boots, all the HSE sh*t magically goes away, doesn't it?
Surely if they all don their regulation yellow jackets, plastic helmets and BSI approved safety boots, all the HSE sh*t magically goes away, doesn't it? JohnR1
  • Score: -1

12:23am Sat 2 Feb 13

her from here says...

buckoff wrote:
I think you will find the problem is Council insurance doesn't cover a six fingered Dingle using a Stop and Go sign. That's why they need training and a proper risk assessment. A Dingle with a red and green lollipop now that's scary!!
I think you need therapy
[quote][p][bold]buckoff[/bold] wrote: I think you will find the problem is Council insurance doesn't cover a six fingered Dingle using a Stop and Go sign. That's why they need training and a proper risk assessment. A Dingle with a red and green lollipop now that's scary!![/p][/quote]I think you need therapy her from here
  • Score: 2

8:54am Sat 2 Feb 13

pdb951 says...

H&E go to hell !!!!
H&E go to hell !!!! pdb951
  • Score: -1

10:27am Sat 2 Feb 13

carrman2 says...

I didnt see any signs during recent marches in Pendle and blackburn
I didnt see any signs during recent marches in Pendle and blackburn carrman2
  • Score: -1

11:00am Sat 2 Feb 13

Hulton Park says...

How ridiculous. The Britannia Coconut Dancers are one of the few surviving relics of Lancashire's pre-industrial culture.

What training do you actually need to turn a "Stop/ Go" board, anyway?
How ridiculous. The Britannia Coconut Dancers are one of the few surviving relics of Lancashire's pre-industrial culture. What training do you actually need to turn a "Stop/ Go" board, anyway? Hulton Park
  • Score: 1

11:42am Sat 2 Feb 13

BIG BOSS says...

I don't think it is anything to do with H&S,!!!! This need looking into, NOW!!!
I don't think it is anything to do with H&S,!!!! This need looking into, NOW!!! BIG BOSS
  • Score: 1

12:53pm Sat 2 Feb 13

gazzandste says...

juanbbien wrote:
I thought this blacking up of faces like the black and white minstrels used to do was outlawed on the grounds of racial discrimination,or does this not include Bacup
Its a traditional dance, nothing to do with any racial discrimination.
[quote][p][bold]juanbbien[/bold] wrote: I thought this blacking up of faces like the black and white minstrels used to do was outlawed on the grounds of racial discrimination,or does this not include Bacup[/p][/quote]Its a traditional dance, nothing to do with any racial discrimination. gazzandste
  • Score: 3

1:00pm Sat 2 Feb 13

gazzandste says...

juanbbien wrote:
I thought this blacking up of faces like the black and white minstrels used to do was outlawed on the grounds of racial discrimination,or does this not include Bacup
Is there any local contractors who use stop and go boards willing to help these guys out.
[quote][p][bold]juanbbien[/bold] wrote: I thought this blacking up of faces like the black and white minstrels used to do was outlawed on the grounds of racial discrimination,or does this not include Bacup[/p][/quote]Is there any local contractors who use stop and go boards willing to help these guys out. gazzandste
  • Score: 0

1:40pm Sat 2 Feb 13

useyourhead says...

gazzandste wrote:
juanbbien wrote:
I thought this blacking up of faces like the black and white minstrels used to do was outlawed on the grounds of racial discrimination,or does this not include Bacup
Is there any local contractors who use stop and go boards willing to help these guys out.
There are probably loads but they can't reply because the haven't done the mandated screen and swivel chair training and so the computer lies idle.
[quote][p][bold]gazzandste[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]juanbbien[/bold] wrote: I thought this blacking up of faces like the black and white minstrels used to do was outlawed on the grounds of racial discrimination,or does this not include Bacup[/p][/quote]Is there any local contractors who use stop and go boards willing to help these guys out.[/p][/quote]There are probably loads but they can't reply because the haven't done the mandated screen and swivel chair training and so the computer lies idle. useyourhead
  • Score: 0

6:40am Sun 3 Feb 13

noahidea says...

I suggest they just go ahead with this , and if it went to court the judge would only treat it as a MORRIS MINOR OFFENCE. Seriously though i think the council are SHYING away from their resposibilitys and MILKING this for what its worth regarding the Coconutters.I suggest you tell them you are doing this in celebration of youre prophet,William Shakespeare who would regard this as MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING,anyway invite all the council down to take part for they are obviosly NUTTERS.
I suggest they just go ahead with this , and if it went to court the judge would only treat it as a MORRIS MINOR OFFENCE. Seriously though i think the council are SHYING away from their resposibilitys and MILKING this for what its worth regarding the Coconutters.I suggest you tell them you are doing this in celebration of youre prophet,William Shakespeare who would regard this as MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING,anyway invite all the council down to take part for they are obviosly NUTTERS. noahidea
  • Score: 0

2:07pm Sun 3 Feb 13

old&grumpy says...

juanbbien wrote:
I thought this blacking up of faces like the black and white minstrels used to do was outlawed on the grounds of racial discrimination,or does this not include Bacup
The original dancers were unemployed and danced to get money. This was considered to be a form of begging which was illegal. The dancers blacked up to avoid being identified. There was nothing racial about it. Modern dancers are merely carrying on the tradition.
[quote][p][bold]juanbbien[/bold] wrote: I thought this blacking up of faces like the black and white minstrels used to do was outlawed on the grounds of racial discrimination,or does this not include Bacup[/p][/quote]The original dancers were unemployed and danced to get money. This was considered to be a form of begging which was illegal. The dancers blacked up to avoid being identified. There was nothing racial about it. Modern dancers are merely carrying on the tradition. old&grumpy
  • Score: 1

2:55pm Sun 3 Feb 13

D2consulting says...

Highway code 206 -while only a recommendation- would give them priority over cars at junctions if they argue dancing across the road was a way of 'crossing the junction'. Also a work-around would be to take a couple of sheep along and 'herd' them by dancing behind them, as long as they adhere to recommendation 58. While they can't strictly claim priority unless at a junction, nor can the cars. I don't think road closure or any other formality is needed if you look at the law underlying the Highway Code (which itself is only recommendation and not law).
Highway code 206 -while only a recommendation- would give them priority over cars at junctions if they argue dancing across the road was a way of 'crossing the junction'. Also a work-around would be to take a couple of sheep along and 'herd' them by dancing behind them, as long as they adhere to recommendation 58. While they can't strictly claim priority unless at a junction, nor can the cars. I don't think road closure or any other formality is needed if you look at the law underlying the Highway Code (which itself is only recommendation and not law). D2consulting
  • Score: 1

9:16pm Wed 6 Feb 13

level2 says...

My Grandfather was one of the nutters and he loved giving "entertainment" to the masses but he died after I moved to Australia. Yes ,they are a national treasure which should be protected NOT priced into oblivion, Les.
My Grandfather was one of the nutters and he loved giving "entertainment" to the masses but he died after I moved to Australia. Yes ,they are a national treasure which should be protected NOT priced into oblivion, Les. level2
  • Score: 2

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