CARNIVAL organisers fear their annual town centre parade cannot go ahead this year because of a broken gate.

Members of the Northwich Carnival committee attended the latest meeting of Northwich Town Council to ask if the gates to Verdin Park will be repaired in time for their floats on July 3.

Barbara Turner, from the committee said: "It concerns us greatly because it means it means our parade can't get access to the park via that way.

"We have considered every other possibility.

"Changing the route – it wouldn't be viable, practical or safe to go up Winnington Hill with lorries around that bend and traffic management would be horrendous.

"Up Castle Hill and down Moss Road and Winnington Lane is far too long a parade, it would be far too expensive for traffic management and isn't viable.

"We've considered a walking parade through town, which would be great but what happens when it gets to the Bull Ring?

"You've still got to get to Verdin Park and would have to stop traffic."

Lee MacKenzie, also from the committee, said: "This year we're trying to be more multicultural and have got more people wanting floats – we want to get more people into Northwich."

Chris Shaw, town council clerk, explained that the gates are a listed structure which will cost £35,000 to repair.

He said a pillar has snapped after being hit by vehicles a number of times over the years and, although he expects them to be repaired in time for the carnival he cannot guarantee this.

Cllr Janet Illidge suggested that the damaged posts should be removed before carnival day if they cannot be fixed.

"It's imperative that this community event is carried on each year," she said.

Fellow councillors agreed and said they would hold further meetings with the carnival committee to discuss progress.