The 2014 Kingston Carnival has been cancelled amid safety concerns over the number of people expected to turn up. 

Kingston Council has scrapped the borough’s largest multicultural street parade, now in its 15th year and due to take place on September 7, despite last-ditch talks to save it.

Organisers Kingston Race and Equalities Council (KREC) only announced last week that former Specials frontman Neville Staple would headline a show in Market Place.

The alcohol-free festival has been hit with several setbacks this year, including changes to policing strategy which means officers would not supervise road closures during the carnival.

Instead KREC was to pay an estimated £10,000 for security and an external events management company to make comprehensive noise control, crowd control and stewarding plans for the first time.

This Is Local London: Neville Staple

Neville Staple

It is understood KREC director John Azah and Kingston Council leader Kevin Davis met to discuss the carnival’s future today. 

Mr Azah said: "We have announced Neville Staple so they have got worried. They are worried we have booked good acts."

Coun Davis said: "I have gathered it is a security issue.

"There was going to be a big act that was going to close the Market Place for the public. It was not announced until last week. Big music events cannot be in the Market Place at the same time as all the other food bits.

"We need to find a new location for it."

Liberal Democrat Councillor Liz Green, leader of the opposition, said: "It would be a huge loss to the borough. It is awful.

"I thoroughly enjoy going to the carnival. I would move anything possible for the carnival to go ahead. When you lose it one year it never comes back."

Last year reggae DJ David Rodigan headlined the event which attracted up to 700 carnival-goers and was also attended by 14 London mayors as well as the High Commissioner of Jamaica, Aloun Ndombet-Asamba.

This year Kingston Carnival’s noon procession was due to host colourful floats, Brazilian percussion bands and Bollywood dancers through the town centre.

But Jon Tolley, manager of Banquet Records, which booked the headline act, said some sort of show may still go on

He said: "I’m sure the Neville Staple gig will go ahead in some way.

"It’s a free gig and we’ve announced it already.

"As such it will go on at some point that day, but right now I’m not stressed about it.

"It’s just a shame about the carnival, which is an amazing event with a real important ethic."