Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 116 - 139)




  116. Can I welcome you and can I ask you all to introduce yourselves for the record?
  (Mr Tinker) I am Barrie Tinker and I am the Outdoor Recreation Manager for Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
  (Mr Lewis) David Lewis and I am the Principal Planning Officer for Thurrock District Council.
  (Mr Noble) Richard Noble, Markets and Fairs Officers for Nottingham City Council.

  117. Thank you very much. I do not know whether you want to make any brief statements before we start or are you happy to go straight into questions? Can I emphasise that with questions if you all three agree then one answer will do nicely but if you disagree please chip in.
  (Mr Tinker) Happy to go straight to questions.
  (Mr Noble) Yes.

Mr Cummings

  118. My questions are directed towards Nottingham and Bradford. Is there still a place for the entertainment provided by local fairs?
  (Mr Tinker) In Bradford, we believe there is. We have a policy.

  119. We have received evidence from Bradford that perhaps things are not well. Fairs have been removed for a total of 19 days.
  (Mr Tinker) Fairs have been removed for 19 days previously some 25 years ago as part of the compulsory purchase. Also we have increased fairs and fairs are now part and parcel of different events. The events are no longer, shall we say, the annual round of public holidays, bank holidays, they now come in different guises.

  120. We have received evidence that perhaps all is not well in Bradford and perhaps we can come to that later on. Do you believe that local authorities across the country are in tune with the public as to the popularity of the travelling fairs?
  (Mr Noble) I would say Nottingham certainly are. We have increased the numbers of fairs over the last couple of years if anything and the public seem to be coming back to fairs in abundance, particularly Nottingham Goose Fair.

  121. Does Thurrock have anything to add?
  (Mr Lewis) No real issues in Thurrock. Generally on local authority sites where there are additional controls and management, no difficulties experienced there.

  122. Would you agree with Newham Council who in evidence have told the Committee that the "... enjoyment fairs give far outweighs the inconvenience caused"?
  (Mr Tinker) Overall, yes.

  Chairman: Smiles are very helpful to us but absolutely hopeless as far as the shorthand writer is concerned.

Mr Cummings

  123. Again to Nottingham and Bradford, you are bearing the brunt of my questions this morning, what problems do local authorities have in allowing fairs to take place on local authority land? For example, do they result in large numbers of complaints from local residents?
  (Mr Noble) From our point of view we get a few complaints but they tend to be the general idea of the fair being there as opposed to any specific complaints. As soon as the fair is under way—they tend to be more during the setting up time—we get very, very few complaints about fairs in Nottingham.


  124. The Goose Fair you have totally revamped, have you not?
  (Mr Noble) I would not say totally revamped.

  125. Well some people would have said destroyed, I thought I was being kind when I said revamped.
  (Mr Noble) In the last few years we have tried to move with the times a little bit. Certainly I would not say we have destroyed or revamped it.

  126. It is better now than it was?
  (Mr Noble) I would say we are improving all the time.

Mr Cummings

  127. What would be the reaction of your three authorities to proposals for a formal appeals procedure against adverse local authority decisions relating to fairs and fairgrounds?
  (Mr Tinker) As part of our policy we have an appeals procedure but that is a local appeals procedure. I have brought copies of our policy along for Members if that would be useful.


  128. It would be very useful, yes.
  (Mr Tinker) That is no problem.

  129. We will have it at the end.
  (Mr Tinker) Right.
  (Mr Noble) We have no formal appeals procedure. I think it is felt within Nottingham that local members are best placed to discover what the needs of the community and the needs of the residents and locals are.
  (Mr Lewis) Something comparable in Thurrock as Nottingham.

Mr Cummings

  130. You are not subscribing to the establishment of a formal appeals procedure? You are quite happy with an internal operation, perhaps the use of the ombudsman?
  (Mr Noble) Yes.
  (Mr Tinker) Yes.

  131. As a matter of course would you consult with the Showmen's Guild or show people themselves about town centre redevelopment?
  (Mr Tinker) I am not able to speak on that one because my management remit does not cover town centre fairs, it covers parks and recreation centres.

  132. When you start to redevelop in Bradford would you know whether the Showmen's Guild are consulted?
  (Mr Tinker) I would not, no.
  (Mr Noble) Me neither.
  (Mr Lewis) In our local town centre they were not consulted in these proposals, not specifically.

  133. For any particular reason or just lack of thought?
  (Mr Lewis) Probably a desire to accelerate the process rather than overdo consultation I think would be the case and relying on the UDP process and local planning process as being the better way for wider consultation to take place.


  134. Now in the local plan process you have just referred to were the Showmen's Guild consulted about the provision of fairground sites within the local plan and winter quarters?
  (Mr Lewis) We are just commencing a UDP process. The last borough plans were several years ago, before we became unitary. The previous borough plan proposals, I doubt that there was consultation with the Showmen's Guild. With the current UDP proposal, which we are embarking on, I think there is a concerted effort to consult the Showmen's Guild but it has not happened yet.

Mr Cummings

  135. Do you believe the show people are generally receptive to alternative sites for fairs?
  (Mr Lewis) I have no experience of that.


  136. They have not been very receptive to moving the Goose Fair, have they?
  (Mr Noble) It is part of the Goose Fair which is being moved. I consulted with the members of the Guild myself that have been affected. I do not think they are particularly overjoyed with the fact they have to move on the whole but they have been fairly receptive to ideas of how they can move and how they can make the best of the situation.

  137. Why are they having to move?
  (Mr Noble) We are having to move part of the site due to the new NEC enclosure, meeting offices and storage facilities and that place has been chosen.

  138. Sorry, NEC?
  (Mr Noble) Sorry, the new tram system for Nottingham.

Mr Cummings

  139. Perhaps we can now revert back to Bradford, I introduced the subject earlier on. What was the purpose and the result of the meeting in 1996 relating to fairground operations on Centenary Square? Do you believe the Christmas fair is likely to be allowed back on to the Square or to be offered an alternative site?
  (Mr Tinker) I do not manage Centenary Square but I also brought a written response to the W Marshall's Amusements allegations of loss of fairs. The Centenary Square Management have put a paragraph in that they have been offered fairs around Centenary Square. They may be offered the fair again within Centenary Square but to their knowledge they have not applied to run the fair in Centenary Square.

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