ANGRY residents vented their frustration at Coventry Council House after plans for a funfair at a protected park were approved.
Deputy leader of the council Abdul Khan gave the funfair at Stoke Green Park, off Binley Road, the green light at a special meeting yesterday (June 18).
The meeting was called to consider petitions signed by nearly 400 people in opposition.
Coun 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’.
As he announced his decision there were shouts of ‘disgrace’ from residents.
And Labour councillor Pervez Akhtar, who had accused residents of trying to stop people having fun, continued a loud argument with some of them outside the meeting room.
Plans were approved despite residents’ fears over noise, litter, parking and damage to the well-used park – which is situated in a conservation area.
Residents say it could damage park improvements for which they have raised £160,000 over several years.
Campaigner Ann Wilson said: “Yesterday’s concerns expressed by 400 residents, three local councillors and the local MP were completely disregarded at a council cabinet meeting.
“They have agreed that our small and well-loved park can be torn to shreds by a fun fair.
“This tiny park in a Conservation Area was compared to the War Memorial Park. Will we get the Godiva Festival next?
“The council tells us the income from this four day fair will be just £134 per day.
“One councillor said that we were depriving children of fun, but the majority of the money we have raised has gone on providing play equipment.
“Clean air? Lets pump four days of diesel fumes next to a school, a playground, a nursery and three retirement homes.”
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.
The neighbours were also angry that the plan was announced with no consultation, and that their local councillors knew nothing about it.
Council officers say funfairs have never caused ‘abnormal’ damage at other city parks, and Andrew Walster, assistant director (streetscene and regulatory services) offered to compromise by reducing its days and allowing residents a say in deciding which rides should be included.
Tommy Wilson, of Tommy Wilson’s Funfairs, said: “The residents’ fears are unjustified about the noise pollution, groups or gangs hanging about and damage to the ground.
“I’ve been putting on fairs in the city for more than 30 years, and we’ve never had any issues with violence, with noise – I can’t remember environmental health officers ever coming down and telling us to keep the noise down.
“But if the council come to me with a justifiable bill for damage, I will pay for it and put it right.”