COUNCIL officers have been accused of ‘petty bureaucracy’ for banning festival organisers from handing out flyers at their events.
The Luddite 200 festival last month celebrated the 200th anniversary of Luddite activity in Huddersfield through a series of concerts, plays and talks.
But organisers were left fuming when Kirklees Council banned them from handing out flyers at the events.
The festival was also barred from staging a re-enactment of key Luddite events – some involving pyrotechnics – because it had not applied for a licence in time.
Organisers decided to pull the re-enactments for safety reasons but continued to flyer the event on April 26.
But the following day they received a warning from Kirklees Council.
The email addressed to Luddite 200 organiser Alan Brooke said: "You also do not have a permit for leaflet distribution and I am aware that some of your people were in Huddersfield town centre yesterday handing out literature.
"The council’s enforcement teams have been briefed regarding this matter and should you ignore the advice in this email you may find that legal proceedings are brought for any breaches of legislation."
Mr Brooke branded the council ‘ridiculous’.
"The Luddites are an integral part of our town’s history,’’ he said.
"It’s petty bureaucracy and it’s not right.
"The council should be more flexible. For Kirklees to be so restrictive is against the whole spirit of things.
"Everyone was working so hard and it was quite a successful event nonetheless."
A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: "There is an order designating the area within the inner ring road of Huddersfield town centre as one where distribution of free printed matter is prohibited without prior consent from the council.
"Applications should give 14 days notice of the proposed date. A fee is payable and payment must be enclosed with the completed application form.
"Unfortunately, we have to apply the rules consistently across the board and there were no mitigating circumstances that would have allowed the council to make an exception for the Luddite organisers.
"No application form with fee had been submitted in any event for us to process."