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

Memorandum by Bradford Metropolitan District Council (TF 59)


Whilst the Council acknowledges that W Marshall's Amusements have been associated with Bradford and the surrounding areas for five generations and it is true to say they had sites compulsory purchased some 25 years ago, the Council considers it has been generally supportive of the organisation, to the extent that it has resisted petitions opposed to fairs on the Wibsey site, in order to preserve use of the site as a fairground and will continue to do so as long as local community feeling is supportive. See Appendix A. Committee resolution of the petition to Leisure Services Sub Committee on 10 December 1990 and copy of a letter from Sandra Wright to Recreation Services in respect of the matter on 7 December 1990.[8]

  On 4 January 1983 Leisure Services Sub Committee re-iterated the decision of a previous committee taken on 14 March 1978 not to allow funfairs to operate on Sundays with the exception of funfairs operating as part of a larger event. This is still the policy of the Council which was upheld by Leisure Services Sub Committee on 10 December 1990 after a request by funfair operators for additional sites to be made available because of losses which had occurred in the previous 10 years, owing to anti-fair petitions by local householders, building development and refusals to make land available by other Council Directorates.

  Appendix B, a schedule for fairground and circus sites was approved at the meeting on 10 December 1990 which shows 14 occasions when a fair can be held during the Summer season, Easter to the end of October, on the 10 designated sites across the district.

  This does not include attendance at other events ie Ilkley May Day Carnival, Keighley Gala, Bradford Festival Mela, Pakistan Independence Day Mela, Bingley Lions Bonfire and the Royds Festival, all of which events are held in locations owned by BMDC and managed by the Recreation Service and all of which have been or are still attended by W Marshall's Amusements and which are allowed to have funfairs open on Sundays as part of a larger family event.

  The Easter fair in Lister Park has not been lost, simply suspended, as have all other events in the park whilst the park undergoes a £3.2 million Heritage Lottery supported facelift, under the terms of which the site is covered by Design and Construction regulations which in effect have turned it into a hard hat worksite precluding public events under Health & Safety legislation. W Marshall's Amusements have been advised they will be offered the site for their traditional Easter fair in 2002, all things being equal, as the Council is supportive of the showman's traditions, associated with the Showman's Guild, membership of which is a condition for all our travelling fair organisers ie James Finnie, Stewart Robinson and W Marshall's Amusements. Officers of the Council were unable to offer an alternative site being mindful of existing policy see para one reference to Sub Committee resolutions on 14 March 1978, 14 January 1983 upheld on 10 December 1990.

  The list of alternative sites visited by W Marshall's Amusements as follows:

    Shipley, Halifax Road

    Wyke, Haworth Road

    Gt Horton, Bradford Moor

    Allerton, Eccleshill

    Low Moor, Saltaire

were part of Bradford Council's outdoor free entertainment policy initiated by the Recreation Service in conjunction with Bradford Festival and known as the Touring Parks Festival, which saw funfairs visiting different locations as part of a larger event on a daily basis over a two week period during the Bradford Festival. It was felt by all parties that the initiative had run its course, having been extremely successful and it was withdrawn some three years ago, the resources being redirected into other areas of the Outdoor entertainment programme. It was never intended that the temporary event sites would become permanent annual stand alone fair sites because of the existing policy and indeed strong local objections at some of the sites, and all participating parties were fully aware of the situation at the inception of the initiative.

  As far as Centenary Square is concerned, the manager of the site advises me that W Marshall's Amusements have had the opportunity to supply a number of small rides to complement various events in Centenary Square eg Christmas Lights Switch on and Christmas market.

  To her knowledge they have not requested a full scale fair in the City Centre but if they had they would have had a number of restrictions in terms of weight/blocking of access etc.

  Last year during the Christmas Lights Switch on they were allowed to place rides along Broadway and the Tyrlls. They were told quite clearly where they were allowed to put rides, however, they ignored some of the rules by placing too large and heavy rides in certain areas and they also blocked areas for emergency vehicles.

  Council staff were given verbal abuse by some of the ride operators when they were told to move for safety reasons. Marshall's management themselves were difficult to get hold of on the day, which has proved to be a problem in the past.

  Although we do not wish to stop fairground operators bringing rides into the city centre our prime concern is safety. It is also unacceptable for council staff to deal with abusive ride operators and with this in mind serious thought will be given to fair rides at future events in and around Centenary Square.

  In conclusion we do not concur with the allegation that BMDC has treated W Marshall's Amusements unfairly, on the contrary the Council has been supportive of the organisation to the extent of increasing by one the number of permanent fair sites, see recommendation of Sub Committee on 10/12/90 re Bowling Park, the offer of which has not been taken up for the past two years because of a shortage of tenants, which may be reflective of the internal sale of the business within the Marshall family some three years ago, a move which appears to have had a deleterious effect on the operational efficiency of the organisation.

  Bradford Council's community policy has been and is likely to continue to be a balanced programme of outdoor entertainment reflecting the area's cultural diversity, supportive of traditional travelling fairs within a planned and strategic framework, whilst refusing to inundate the district with a plethora of them, to satisfy the wishes of the organisers and the Showman's Guild.

March 2000

8   Ev. Not printed. For further information please contact Bradford Metropolitan District Council. Back

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