BNP cancels annual festival

The British National Party will not be bringing its Red, White and Blue festival back to Amber Valley for a fourth year, the party has confirmed.

The annual event for party members and their families had been staged on land off Codnor Denby Lane owned by party member Alan Warner since 2007.

The BNP said that a need to use resources in different areas, and the grazing of cattle on Mr Warner's land, put paid to any hope of the festival returning.

Mr Warner said: "We have cattle on the land at the moment and there are rules saying people cannot go on land used for cattle grazing for 90 days so it's too late now.

"I think the BNP should have come back this year to show that they are still here. People will say 'we have beaten them and moved them on' when that's not the case.

"It may be back next year, I don't know, I don't make those kind of decisions."

The first event attracted one lone protester but by 2009 hundreds of anti-fascist campaigners travelled from all over the country to march through Codnor and Loscoe.

Last year Derbyshire Police made 19 arrests and claimed the operation to police the protests cost them 500,000.

Cllr Lewis Allsebrook, one of two BNP representatives on Amber Valley Borough Council, said: "It is quite labour intensive to organise and put on and can consume whole months of key activists time.

"At a time of huge organisational steps forward, it was felt that key people would be better utilised by focusing them on the upgrade of the party election machine.

"The party also took account of information I put forward regarding the underfunding of Derbyshire Police.

"The force is used as a hub for terrorism training and we considered that to divert funds away from such training wouldn't be right."

Codnor Denby Lane resident John Lumsden expressed his relief at hearing the news.

He said: "It's absolutely wonderful news. It's good for the village, it's good for the people in general and I think it's good for Derbyshire.

"The event brought noise, aggravation and disturbance of the peace every year. It was a shocking exhibition of a political party.

"I haven't spoken to anybody who isn't happy about this."