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

Memoraundum by The Royal Parks (TF 67)


The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport gave approval for a funfair to take place on The Mall from 31 December 1999 until 3 January 2000.

  The Royal Parks Agency is responsible to the Secretary of State for the management and policing of the Royal Parks and was responsible for supervising the operation of the funfair, including setting up and dismantling.

  Our experience was that

    —  The funfair was well attended, especially on 31 December, with many families in evidence, though attendance dwindled substantially on 3rd January, which was very wet.

    —  The organisers, Big Time Events Ltd (BTE) operated the fair effectively in the narrowest sense—ie setting up, operating and dismantling the rides. They were less concerned when it came to providing some of those things—like adequate numbers of stewards, adequate additional toilets and some of the fencing—which would have added to their costs. They also failed to control operators' vehicle parking.

    —  Royal Parks Constabulary (RPC) manning levels were adequate with some assistance from the Metropolitan Police on 31 December (as had been planned for). There were five arrests on 31 December; three for drunk and disorderly and two for public order offences and police dealt with four people who had collapsed. On 2nd January there were two arrests for public order offences and police dealt with two people who had collapsed.

    —  There was one accident in which a child fell off a ride and broke a leg and a few lesser ones resulting in minor injuries. One ride had to be closed when a part broke due to overloading, but it was repaired and back in use the next day.


  The arrangements for the funfair were influenced to a great extent by:

    —  the proximity of the site to the traditional London New Year honey-pots of Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square;

    —  the fact that it was the Millennium;

    —  the need to integrate arrangements for the funfair into the strategic planning for the capital city Millennium Night celebrations.

  We believe that because of these special circumstances this is not a good example from which to draw lessons about funfairs in general.


  In view of the occasion, there was no charge for the millennium funfair and the organisers paid only a fixed amount towards the costs. As a result, the Agency incurred substantial costs as a result of the funfair on The Mall.

  Normally the Agency charges event organisers a fee for using the Royal Parks, on top of which event organisers are expected to meet all costs arising from their event. In addition, they have to meet the full cost of any repairs or reinstatement necessary as a result of the event taking place in the Park. This may include consequential costs incurred in the park outside the immediate footprint of the funfair but which has been caused by people attending the funfair. This may not be familiar to many funfair operators used to dealing with funfairs held on traditional sites.


  We would be happy to consider hosting a New Year event on The Mall again in future, although it compounds, rather than alleviates, crowding at the Traditional Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square honey-pots.

  We would charge for deal with any future funfair as we would any other event in the Royal Parks and the organiser will have to pay all the costs of the event.

Viviane Robertson

Head of Policy

March 2000

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