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

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 160 - 179)



  160. Is your local authority receptive to the proposals for new fairs?
  (Mr Noble) I feel it is. Over the last few years we have had quite a few new fairs in Nottingham. I would say this year we are looking to review the policy and consider whether there are enough fairs now in Nottingham, particularly the smaller ones, and whether the number of fairs is detracting from those existing ones. That policy is under review at the moment.

  161. Mr Tinker?
  (Mr Tinker) As a council we are not opposed to new fairs but we are, shall we say, customer driven. When it is proposed that new fairs are put in in the parks or places where fairs have not previously been, then we do meet some opposition.

  162. You have resolutions, do you not, which go back to 1986 which you have to adhere to one presumes?
  (Mr Tinker) Yes, we do and we maintain those and stick to those.

  163. Those are not what one would describe as being most beneficial as far as the attraction of new fairs is concerned, are they?
  (Mr Tinker) We have only provided one new fair.

  164. Some of the restrictions you would think are quite restrictive in terms of what you have: "no fairs will be allowed to operate on a Sunday" for instance?
  (Mr Tinker) Yes.

  165. This has applied to privately run fairs only. "Fairs incorporated within a larger event are able to operate on Sundays".
  (Mr Tinker) Yes.

  166. There seems to be a contradiction in that in itself. "No new nominated fairground sites will be available in the Bradford Metropolitan District." This second resolution has lost you forever your spring and autumn circuits of fairs, a total of some 19 per annum. Is that a statement you would agree with since it seems to be part of what you have as conditions?
  (Mr Tinker) It is not a statement I would agree with within the term I have been looking after fairs. That was something I perceived happened before the present management structure took over.

  167. You think it is possible then that Bradford will rescind that particular order?
  (Mr Tinker) As far as the Sunday opening which we are reviewing already or the number of fairs?


  168. Both?
  (Mr Tinker) I would have to take that back because we receive strong objections whenever we look to put new fairs on new sites.

Mr Donohoe

  169. By taking it back, would you be suggesting that you write to us to indicate that you have rescinded that as a condition?
  (Mr Tinker) I will look at that and we will come back to you.

  170. Okay. Thanks. What would your reaction be to the proposals for a formal appeals procedure against adverse local authority decisions such as we have just heard?
  (Mr Tinker) We think we have an appeals procedure but it is purely a local one.

  171. What is that then?
  (Mr Tinker) It is part of a document whereby if a fair operator wishes to hold fairs, it is discussed with ward councillors, it goes to members, there is consultation with neighbourhood forums and area panels. Then we take the results from those consultations and make a decision on whether it is appropriate.

  172. Is that appeal heard by different councillors from the ones who take the decision?
  (Mr Tinker) No, it would be held by the Leisure and Heritage Executive Committee.

  173. It would be the same councillors then who would be looking at an appeal against themselves?
  (Mr Tinker) They would be looking at an appeal but the decision would have been made by officers, the appeal would have been made by members of the public through local consultation.

Mr Cummings

  174. Could you be more clear about that? We are confused.
  (Mr Tinker) Right. When applications are made for fun fairs they are made to us as officers.

Mr Donohoe

  175. So you take the decision?
  (Mr Tinker) Yes.

  176. It is not something that you go and see a councillor about?
  (Mr Tinker) Not at the moment because we are restricted by the present policy and the number of fairs that they have on the designated sites. If there was a body of opinion which came to us and said "We think you should have a fair here"—

  177. What is the point of having an appeal in these circumstances with that restriction, that is a milestone around their neck? That is not giving you any flexibility at all. As an officer you would want more flexibility, would you not? You had better not answer that because as an ex NALGO official I can tell you, you might get yourself in difficulty. I turn to Notts, if I might, and just ask in exactly the same situation would you be opposed to an appeals procedure?
  (Mr Noble) I do not think I would be particularly opposed to it. I do feel local members are better placed to consider the needs of the locals in the community around it.


  178. There is a bias, is there not? It is quite difficult as a ward councillor to tell the new housing estate that has just been put on close to the site of a fair that they have to put up with it because there will be 30 or 40 votes which you may be quite keen to get and telling them bluntly that you are not sympathetic is not easy. It is much easier either to blame officials or to blame other councillors or simply to say "We are not having the fair here, we like fairs but we do not want them in our patch". Ought there not to be some mechanism which balances up? Showmen often do not have a vote, groups of people who use the fairs tend not to have votes, a lot of them are young people, so is it not a bit weighted against the fair by the way in which local people are going to be put out by it? I do not think you heard my expression about the odd person puking in your front garden, it is not something they are going to be very keen on, is it?
  (Mr Noble) I can understand that but I do not think that Nottingham would look at one particular complaint or a couple of complaints and how those outweighed the number of people who go to the fair and enjoy it.

  179. So the leader of the council does not have a ward anywhere near the Goose Fair?
  (Mr Noble) I could not answer that.

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