18th Sep, 2019

Horse fair organisers 'disappointed' after being forced to cancel event

Laura Kearns 11th Apr, 2019

THE ORGANISERS of Kenilworth Horse Fair have been left ‘disappointed’ after being forced to cancel the event.

Earlier this year the Observer exclusively revealed plans for the fair to continue despite being cancelled in 2018 after the owners of land off Thickthorn Island sold up to make way for a new 760 home development.

Despite this organisers planned for the event to be held on the same site as before at the end of April, and had ordered toilets, skips and staff for the fair – which attracts thousands from the traveller community to the town.

But Warwick District Council (WDC) and the trustees of the Thickthorn site said they had not given permission for it to be held there.

The organisers say they are now looking at alternative sites in surrounding counties including Staffordshire to hold the fair, which has traditionally been held in Kenilworth since 2001.

A spokesman said: “We are all very disappointed. We are just hoping the event can be saved and held from April 25 to 28 which would have been the Kenilworth event.

“The organisers have lost money otherwise, ordering toilets, skips and staff. The situation is very hard.”

Last year police and the council welcomed news that September’s fair was to be the last, saying despite putting plans in place the event – which took place three times a year – still caused major disruption.

There were regular reports of criminal damage to properties and vehicles around the site, and some pubs and shops in the town have even closed their doors during the event.

But fair organisers argue it was a boost to the town, and that some businesses have expressed dismay it will not be returning.

The spokesman added: “Folks always remember the bad times but never remember the good things and trade brought to the town.

“It is so sad that in this day and age as soon as people hear ‘the gypsies are coming’ that it still brings fear about what’s next.”

Council chief executive Chris Elliot confirmed the fair would not be taking place.

He said: “We would like to state categorically that the trustees of the Thickthorn site for the horse fair have confirmed they have not given permission for the event to take place and no permission has been sought or given by Warwick District Council for the fair to take place on any other site in Kenilworth or the surrounding area.

“Under the agreement made last year following the September event, there will no longer be a horse fair held in Kenilworth on the site at Thickthorn.”

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