After two deaths last year, the Greater London Authority want to see changes this year...

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL could be rerouted and refocused to culminate in an event in HYDE PARK this year.

The annual London street festival – the largest in Europe, which last year attracted 1.5 million people -has been marred by violence in past years, with two men dying after attacks last year.

Now, the Greater London Authority (GLA), which described the event as having become “the victim of its own success”, is looking at locations to move it to an open space, with Hyde Park or land near Wormwood Scrubs prison – both in west London, not far from Notting Hill – both in the running.

The GLA wants to reduce the number of sound systems and commercial floats in the procession to make it more manageable, particularly on the Children’s Day on the August Bank Holiday Sunday.

Speaking about the proposed changes, chair of the review group Lee Jasper said: “It was felt by all that in recent years Carnival has become the victim of its own success. What began as a spontaneous celebration has grown into Europe’s largest street festival, yet the infrastructure and resources available to the organisers have remained at a level associated with a local rather than an international event. Our primary concern has been that Carnival must be a safe and enjoyable occasion for participants, visitors and residents alike, young and old.”

London Metropolitan Police have welcomed the proposals. Deputy Commissioner Ian Blair said: “Our priority is, and will always be, the safety and security of those people who take part in and come to enjoy this world-renowned event, as well as those who live in the area.”

London Mayor Ken Livingstone called on the bodies involved in the running of Carnival to work together and with his office to ensure the event’s future.

However, the proposals are facing opposition from some local councillors. Speaking to the London Evening Standard newspaper yesterday (February 13), Councillor Alan Bradley said: “Ending the carnival in Hyde Park is a well meaning but impractical proposal. Extending the area covered by the carnival could increase the potential for crime…it’s difficult to see how the Royal Parks or police support the proposal.”

This year’s carnival is scheduled to take place over the weekend of August 25-27.