6th Jul, 2022

Locks glued together to block funfair in protected Coventry park

Felix Nobes 25th Jun, 2019 Updated: 25th Jun, 2019

PROTESTERS glued locks together to block entry to workers setting up a controversial funfair in a protected Coventry park.

The funfair at Stoke Green Park, off Binley Road, was approved at a special Coventry City Council meeting last week that was called to consider petitions signed by nearly 400 people in opposition.

A protest was mobilised on social media, and yesterday (June 24) about 20 people turned out to vent their frustration as rides and caravans took over the small park in a conservation area.

Protesters claimed that cumbersome lorries and caravans had already ’caused damage’ and workers had been aggressive.

Assurances from Tommy Wilson, of Tommy’s Fairs, appeared to have allayed fears enough for the Gosford Park Residents’ Association (GPRA) to rule out further protests.

But some residents remained intent on demonstrating.

Mr Wilson denied any damage had been caused and has criticised the behaviour of protesters.

Someone had glued locks together to prevent bollards being removed to allow the fair entry into the park.

Mr Wilson told us: “There isn’t any damage. If the council officers say there is then I will deal with it.

“But protesters superglued all the locks together so we couldn’t get in. We were given permission from the council to cut the locks.

“We had legal entry. But protesters still stood in the driveway blocking us.”

One protester, who didn’t want to be named, said: “The park is not suitable for such a fair due to parking issues, it being in a conservation area and the access for the big fair vehicles.

“The people driving the trucks blocked a road and were telling motorists using the road is was closed and to turn back.

“They drove huge wagons into the park through a walkway right next to a kids play area at high speed also causing damage to trees and bushes – which they said they wouldn’t do.

“They were generally aggressive in manner.”

On Sunday (June 23), a spokesperson for the Stoke Park Residents’ Group said: “Following a telephone conversation between GPRA and Tommy Wilson today, he has given personal reassurances about noise, litter, damage and will ensure minimum disruption and any damage fixed.

“Having reviewed the assurances, we still feel that Stoke Green Park is not an appropriate location for a funfair, but we will allow the it to take place with no further protest planned.

“We still believe if the council had been upfront with us and handled things differently, a lot of the anger and frustration could have been avoided.”

Deputy leader Councillor Abdul Khan’s (Labour) decision came after hearing impassioned pleas from residents who argued that a funfair would be inappropriate at the park, which would be ‘torn to shreds’.

Horace Panter is the bassist for the city’s 2-Tone legends The Specials and he is one of those to have lambasted the council over its decision and treatment of residents.

The fair will run from June 27 to 30, from 5 to 9pm of the Thursday and Friday, from 2 to 9pm on the Saturday, and from 1pm to 7pm on the Sunday. But the setting up will be from Monday, June 24, and the equipment will be dismantled on July 1.

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