RESIDENTS in a Coventry have launched a petition against city council plans to stage a funfair which they say will do lasting damage to a park near their homes.
They say there has been no consultation on the plan and that the ‘inappropriate’ funfair could wreck Stoke Green Park, off Binley Road – which is also a conservation area.
People living nearby fear noise, litter and parking problems in addition to damage, and they have raised a petition asking the council to think again.
They have the backing of local councillors John McNicholas and Catherine Miks, who say they weren’t told of the funfair plan before it was announced by officers.
At a public meeting (Wednesday, April 17), Coun McNicholas told residents: “Councillors weren’t aware of it, you weren’t aware of it. We were given a fait accompli.”
The funfair is planned to run from June 27 to 30, from 5pm to 9pm on the Thursday and Friday; 1pm, to 9pm on the Saturday; and 1pm to 7.30 on the Sunday.
The council says it has to use the city’s parks to make money to make up for government cutbacks.
But Gosford Park Residents’ Association and the Stoke Park Residents’ Group which are opposing the plans, say they would be willing to work with the council on ways of raising money with events that would be more appropriate to the park’s size and location.
Chair of the GPRA Corinne Spencer said: “They will only make £134 a day from the funfair. We’ve raised over £150,000 to improve our local parks over the years.”
In Stoke Green Park, residents have provided a popular play area for younger children, restored the Joseph Levy clock, planted a new avenue of trees – many of which were sponsored by local people in memory of loved ones – and created a stunning tree sculpture.
In the nearby Gosford Park, their projects include an outdoor gym and the restoration of a large rockery.
Now they fear that a funfair could damage and undo their work.
Ms Spencer said: “We’ve put so much effort in, and people have raised so much money, and now the council are putting it all at risk. People will wonder why they bothered.”
They also point out that the funfair would be close to homes, a care home, and Pattison College.
One Stoke Green resident said at the meeting: “We are not against funfairs, but we’ve all been to one – and to have one here is just crazy.”
Following the petition, the matter has been referred to the council cabinet member, Councillor Abdul Khan, for a decision.
Officers have offered to compromise on the number of days the park would run, and they have offered local people a say in what rides would be offered.
But residents have rejected that, seeing the move as the thin end of a wedge.
They fear that the four-day proposal, and perhaps more, would return in the future.
Coun McNicholas told the residents’ meeting: “It’s an appalling proposal. We will make it clear to officers that the local community are totally opposed, but are willing work with them on other ways of raising money.
“A funfair would be completely inappropriate.”
“This raises a number of issues that beggar belief – it shows how not to consult with local communities, especially in the Stoke Green area, considering how active you are for the benefit of the community.
“We are going to investigate how the council consults, and we will use this issue to show how not to do it.”