THE march and rally for independence in Ayr next Saturday will go ahead, but a stand-off between the organisers All Under One Banner (AUOB) and South Ayrshire Council over the rally venue could mean a last-minute change of route.

South Ayrshire Council confirmed to The National that it has demanded that AUOB purchase public liability insurance cover of £5 million for the rally element of the march – due to take place on the Low Green, adjacent to Ayr Esplanade which is Common Good land controlled as a park by the council.

The council is believed to be ready to waive the fee for the hire of the Low Green, but is sticking fast to the need for insurance and a public entertainment licence for the rally. The event will have a stage for speakers and musicians and the usual stalls that the marches attract.

On its website, the council suggests that Low Green may not be the rally venue. It says the route will be from Blackburn car park and then to “Esplanade, Pavilion Road, Wellington Square, Barns Street, Dalblair Road, Alloway Street, High Street, New Bridge Street, Sandgate, Wellington Square, Bath Place, Esplanade – Low Green.”

The National can reveal that AUOB have written to the council blaming them for not realising the rally element would need a stage and stalls.

They wrote: “We write in response to the council’s communication to state the following. We will not be purchasing public liability insurance, we will not be paying for a public entertainment licence, we will not be paying any fee whatsoever for the use of the Low Green

AUOB added: “The council has materially failed to follow due diligence in respect of our notification for the march and rally, as submitted to the council and duly received last autumn where we advised that at the end of the procession there would be a political rally with a selection of community stalls. Therefore, as such the council has lied to us and the general public by stating you were not aware of the rally element to our event until June 21, 2019, but if not a conscious lie then a material oversight from the very beginning right up until the present time. Regardless this makes the council look very foolish.”

The group have given the council a 5pm deadline on Wednesday, July 3, to back down from its position. The National has been told that the council is considering its position.

AUOB told The National they would have to “materially change the route and rally site” if the council would not compromise. A spokesman said: “If it is necessary we have an alternative rally site ready to go, but obviously we would rather stick to the original plan.

“The march will go ahead at 1.30pm on Saturday in Ayr and we would ask those who are intending to come to be in plenty of time.”