Hemel Hempstead’s popular Old Town spookfest is giving up the ghost due to roadwork delays

Old Town Halloween Party, Hemel Hempstead, 2012. 'Pictures by Katrina Matthews.
Old Town Halloween Party, Hemel Hempstead, 2012. 'Pictures by Katrina Matthews.
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A popular annual Halloween event which attracts crowds of thousands has been cancelled this year due to delays in Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town roadworks.

The discovery of hidden burial tombs in July and a delay in the delivery of materials from civil contractor Jackson’s suppliers has pushed back the works to improve the High Street, originally due to end this month.

The Halloween party, organised by Community Action Dacorum, was scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 27, but due to safety concerns at the site, the event is unable to go ahead.

Loretta Anderson, development officer for CAD, said: “We are disappointed that the event has been cancelled, but feel that Dacorum Borough Council really has no choice under the circumstances as safety is the most important factor. We were involved in meetings with the builders and council throughout the summer and know that the council made every effort to enable the event to take place, including looking at other venues, but have not found anywhere big enough or safe enough to accommodate the six to seven thousand people the event attracts.”

Businesses and residents in the Old Town have been informed of the delays and event cancellation with a hand-delivered letter.

Borough council portfolio holder for regulatory and resident services Neil Harden said: “A site visit on Wednesday has confirmed our fears that the pathways and highway are not yet in a condition safe enough for the event.

“I am very disappointed that it won’t be held this year but the decision was not taken lightly or without exploring alternatives.”

There will be a launch event in the Old Town once the works are completed. Ms Anderson also hopes to run a Victorian evening in the High Street on November 16. She is looking for choirs to take part – email events@communityactiondacorum.org.uk for more details.