A DECISION to pull down eight banners advertising a World War One commemoration event has been labelled ‘baffling’ by angry protesters.

County highways bosses have insisted that the signs, installed in prominent places around Colne to promote the town’s dedicated event to mark the beginning of the conflict, was made for road safety reasons.

But Coun Sarah Cockburn-Price, chairman of organisers Colne Town Council, said: “This is a publicly-funded event and we would have expected them to turn a blind eye.

“But a county council worker has taken it upon himself to remove them without asking. He could have simply ‘googled’ the event and contacted the town clerk.”

Last night the town council had been inundated with businesses offering alternative sites for the banners - on non-council owned land.

Coun Cockburn-Price added: “Hopefully we will be able to get them back up fairly soon. Pendle Leisure Trust has offered us a number of sites and we are very grateful.”

The County Hall purge has also seen a number of banners promoting Trawden Show removed, it is understood.

Coun Neil Butterworth, Pendle’s armed forces champion, said: “They took down the World War One banner but left up those for travelling shows. If one has to come down then they all have to come down.

“These are hand-stencilled banners, not plastic ones and all they needed to do was make one telephone call.”

Oliver Starkey, the count council’s highways manager for Pendle, said: "Guard rails are supposed to be see-through so drivers have a clear view of pedestrians and oncoming traffic.

"We have a duty to ensure road safety and remove any signs that have been attached to railings, street lights and traffic lights without our approval.”

Colne Commemorates takes place on August 2 featuring a period town council canteen, reconstruction of a trench in the orchestra pit at the Hippodrome, a display of dogs and pigeons and the role outside the Little Theatre, a parade by the Royal British Legion to the Colne war memorial for a service at 11am and a recreation of a photographic studio for commemorative portraits.