WATCHERS of Bridgwater's famous carnival procession will need to be ready earlier as organisers announce a 'major change'.

Organisers of Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival are set to change the start time of this year’s carnival procession by bringing it forward by one hour to 6pm.

The move follows feedback from spectators and other carnival stakeholders after last year’s big procession, when extended delays caused by cart breakdowns saw the carnival celebrations continue later than originally planned.

As well as offering a number of transport infrastructure related benefits, an earlier start for the town’s 2019 carnival on Saturday, November 2, will be welcomed by many watching spectators and especially those with young families.

Dave Croker, chairman of Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival Committee, said: “We are always looking at ways of continually improving the Bridgwater Carnival experience, and the principle of starting the procession earlier was first suggested by members of the public after they completed online feedback forms following our 2018 carnival.

“As the carnival is a live show, there will always be a risk of some small delays and cart breakdowns. However, last year’s delays were unprecedented and many spectators ended up having to leave before the procession had finished in order to catch their transport home.

“So by moving the start time forward to 6pm it should allow all of our spectators to have the opportunity to watch the two hour carnival procession and the squibbing display before it gets too late and before the last trains and coaches leave the town.”

The proposed time change, which is being discussed with the local authorities and emergency services, will also mean the pre-procession begins at 5.30pm. It also means that the squibbing display which traditionally signifies the end of the carnival celebrations could take place 30 minutes after the carnival procession has finished.