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Thursday, 15 March 2012

image for Diamond Jubilee Street Party to take place on M25
The M25: Site of Botting's Beanfeast

Surviving inhabitants of a Hertfordshire village bulldozed to make way for London's orbital motorway in 1973 have been given the green light to hold a reunion Diamond Jubilee street party - on the M25.

The tiny hamlet of Botting was demolished and its inhabitants relocated to an estate in nearby Potters Bar 39 years ago when the first section of the motorway was opened on the site where the village duckpond stood.

"Botting had a long and proud tradition of patriotic street parties; from the relief of Mafeking and VE Day to the Coronations of Victoria, Edward VIII and the present Queen." says organiser Dawn Keedick, 60, who was born in Botting and spent the first 21 years of her life there. "We expect all thirty-seven surviving Botting residents, plus their extended families from all over the world, to attend."

The party trestles and tables will be set up and coned off on the hard shoulder and two of the three lanes between junctions 23 and 24 of the clockwise M25.

Despite fierce objections from Hertsmere councillors and Hertfordshire Constabulary, the 'Botters' - as the doughty ex-residents are known - have had their application approved by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who has criticised councils trying to stifle Diamond Jubilee street parties.

In Westminster this week, the Minister - who now has a personal invite to Botting's street party - urged Britons to mark the Queen's 60 years on the throne by "putting up the bunting" after the Government axed restrictions on street celebrations.

According to Ms Keedick, there'll be bunting on all the road cones with Union Jack banners hanging from the motorway lights, speed cameras and central reservation. "As for filming the event, we'll have plenty of motorway cameras to record the whole thing. Ironically, the only road that ran through Botting village was called 'Middle Lane'."

Over 3,500 applications have been lodged for street parties across England. Mr Pickles blasted bureaucrats demanding hundreds of pounds to close roads so residents can toast the occasion.

He told MPs: "The bunting police have gone, there is no need to put up expensive signs, no need to do traffic surveys". These he branded as "pointless, pettifogging bureaucracy".

"Why to goodness can't we simply get on in celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and recognise these roads can be closed with the minimum disruption? Let's just enjoy the day," said Pickles, adding "Cutting red tape allows us to put up more bunting."

When asked what she thought the M25's large number of European juggernaut drivers would make of the inevitable 12 hour tailbacks the street party will cause, Ms Keedick replied, "They're welcome to join us in a toast to Her Majesty - and they can sample jars of our own local Hertfordshire jams."

"If the party is a roaring success, then we'll reinstate Botting's traditional Wednesday Duck Fayre and street market. On the M25 again, of course."

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