A Harrogate group is planning to stage the first ever Orange Order parade through the town in the run up to Christmas.
The Harrogate “Sons of William 1685” Lodge, set up by Harrogate man Dale Parkyn earlier this year, plans to parade through the town on Saturday, November 24.
Eleven members of the Harrogate-based group will be joined by 150-200 other Orangemen and supporters from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Liverpool and across the UK, Mr Parkyn said.
But the plans have attracted criticism from North Yorkshire County Council’s Highways Department, which has asked for the parade to be re-routed to avoid streets busy with shoppers visiting a Christmas market near the Crown roundabout, Mr Parkyn said.
He refused the request. “We have already made enough concessions. We have removed part of the A59 because it is the main route in and out of Harrogate.”
The route has also been planned to avoid causing offence by passing Catholic churches or clubs, he added.
“We are not here to deliberately upset people.
“Harrogate will be mobbed that weekend with Christmas shoppers and what a great spectacle for them to see us parading past with an open Bible with a crown resting on it.”
The parade will leave High Harrogate Working Men’s Club and travel through the town centre, stopping at the war memorial for a short service, and passing the Crown roundabout before heading back to High Harrogate.
Mr Parkyn set up the Harrogate lodge after spending 10 years with a Northallerton lodge, and the group currently has 11 members.