In response to your letters in this week's Guardian calling for the return of the parade at Mitcham Carnival (Bring back carnival parade, April 30), myself and Councillor Ian Munn have been helping to organise Mitcham Carnival for the past 15 years, and we too are sad that the parade had to be finally stopped, but your readers need to be told the history behind this.

Mitcham Carnival used to be organised by people in the community, and was an extension of the May Queen Parade.  In 2000 the organisers decided they could not do it any more so pulled out.  Councillor Munn who was mayor at the time, decided to take it into the mayoralty to run it with support from parks and other council services, so if it hadn’t been for him the carnival and the parade would have been lost there and then!

Support for a May queen had been dwindling for some time, but we carried on having a parade, and because the weather was often unpredictable in May, we changed it to June.

Schools and other organisations found it increasingly difficult to take part in the parade, because of the amount of organisation and volunteers needed, plus the costs involved.  There was also the added pressure regarding health and safety measures with risk assessments etc and the need for the support of local police to manage road closures and traffic management (in Mitcham - which we all know is already clogged up with traffic most of the time!).  But we struggled on - some years we had a good number of entrants, but other years it was really difficult to get people to take part.

The final straw came when the police told us they could not help manage the parade any longer.  They had already warned us in 2012 that, because of the huge cuts they were expected to make, help with the parade and carnival was likely to cease.  Rules regarding road closures and traffic management orders, parade marshals and safety measures became much more stringent. Also, from 2010 to 2014 we had Conservative mayors who decided that the carnival should be removed from the mayoralty.

In spite of this, Merton Council still offers a massive amount of support in both officer time and practically, and most of the cost of this is currently absorbed by other departments, as without it we would be unable to carry on at all.  We are continually trying to get sponsorship and we do get a small amount from some local organisations and businesses, for which we are very grateful.  Luckily, with takings from stalls and donations from food and drink outlets, plus help and goodwill gestures from faithful volunteers, we are able to put on a good show and break even financially each year, so there is no cost to Merton council tax payers.  Local groups like bands, cheerleaders, dancers etc still have the opportunity to show themselves off in the carnival arena with other community acts.

So it’s easy to say "bring back our Parade" but it’s much more complicated than people understand. However, we will be happy to consider any ideas put forward.

Councillor Geraldine Stanford

Mitcham Carnival Committee

London Borough of Merton