Royal wedding-party fever fails to catch on in town

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NOT one Royal Wedding street party will be taking place in Hartlepool after the only council-approved celebration was axed due to a lack of interest.

Lister Street was due to be partially closed so hundreds of people could join together to mark the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday, April 29.

But the patriotic scenes – that would have echoed the Prince’s parents’ wedding in 1981 – will no longer be happening in Hartlepool as Red Dreams, the charity organising the entertainment, failed to get any backing from local firms.

And east Durham is also struggling to get into the street spirit, with just one road closure planned in Thornley.

Dawn McManus, who needed £500 to put on the Hartlepool party for Red Dreams, said: “There has been a lack of spirit as not one single business has come forward to get behind this.

“It would have been nice to have people backing something positive in their area that would have seen young people enjoying the day.

“I understand most businesses would have been closed, but they would still have had coverage and the enjoyment of being behind such an event.”

A town travel company boss has also revealed his customers are flying overseas rather than heading to the capital to be part of the pomp and ceremony focused on Westminster Abbey.

Grand Central chiefs say they have not seen a “particular increase” in reservations for trips from Hartlepool to King’s Cross prior to the wedding.

Roderick Thompson, of Regent Travel, in York Road, Hartlepool, said: “We have had a few people buying rail packages to London for the weekend but there hasn’t actually been a huge amount of interest.

“What we have seen is people taking advantage of having so many bank holidays in a short space of time to have a longer holiday.

“They are taking the three days off between the wedding and Easter and having 10 or 11 days abroad.

“I’m sure there will be people staying at home and watching the wedding on TV and they will be thankful that they wouldn’t want to be queuing around The Mall. It’s just how things are now.”

East Coast train bosses said bookings for journeys on its service towards London on the day before the wedding are up by 56 per cent compared with the same Thursday last year, but bookings for trains leaving the capital’s King’s Cross station are also up by 34 per cent as Londoners look to escape to avoid the hype.

The company’s commercial director, Peter Williams, said the rise is partly down to people worried about traffic on the roads over the extra-long bank holiday weekend.

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman confirmed there are now no planned street closures in the town, but said parties may be happening in private locations or on land where they do not need a road closure or licences for liquor or entertainment.

Durham County Council have 10 road closures across the county but only one in east Durham.

Dunelm Road, in Thornley, will be closed from 10am-8pm on the Friday.

Schools and organisations have been taking part in activities to mark the up coming ceremony before the Easter holiday began.

Many community groups, nursing homes and charities are thought to be holding in-house events while pubs and clubs also make the most of the occasion – such as The Royal Techno Party at the Grand Hotel’s Pearl Bar, in Swainson Street.

But none are expected to spill out into the streets to recreate the scenes of 30 years ago for Charles and Diana’s big day .