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

Memorandum by Sandra Wright (Partner) W Marshall's Amusements (TF 18)

My testament regarding our lost Fairground sites and other issues relating to West Yorkshire Fairs

  Traditionally, the majority of Showpeople have travelled the same circuit of fairs for a great many years and then for a short period of each year become a part of the local community.

  Five generations of the Marshall family have travelled in the West Riding of Yorkshire but have been mainly associated with the city of Bradford and surrounding areas.

  The Marshall family have owned three traditional fairground sites. Two of those were compulsorily purchased by the Council and subsequently re-developed. The third site, at Wibsey near Bradford, was also CPO'd by the Council but they have retained this as the local fairground. Wibsey is the only one of our original Fairs left.

  In the early 1980s Bradford Metropolitan Council Leisure Services' Sub Committee passed the following resolutions:

    1.  No fairs would be allowed to operate on a Sunday. This has applied to privately run fairs only. Fairs incorporated within a larger event are able to open on Sundays, eg Charity Galas, local carnivals, Festivals, etc.

    2.  No new nominated fairground sites will be available in the Bradford Metropolitan District. This second resolution has lost us forever our Spring and Autumn circuit of fairs. This represents a total of 19 weekends in each year.

  We are only surviving in the Bradford area during the Summer season by our Fair attending local charity galas, festivals, etc., because the resolution which was passed does not apply in these circumstances or to these events and there are a number of parks and Recreation grounds readily available.

  The following is a list of Fairs, which we have lost, but not as a result of complaints over noise or nuisance, but through compulsory purchase of our family's land and town centre and/or housing development.

    Shipley—4 weekends.

    Great Horton—4 weekends.

    Wyke—4 weekends.

    Bingley—4 weekends.

    Idle—1 weekend.

  We have also lost our Easter Fair in Lister Park, Bradford since 1997, although we have been assured by the Council that this site will be available again in 2002. Unfortunately the Council were unwilling to grant us use of an alternative site in the meantime.

  The following is a list of places where there are alternative sites in parks and recreation grounds in the Bradford District and which we have attended with our fair as part of a larger event.

    Shipley—Halifax Road.

    Wyke—Howarth Road.

    Great Horton—Bradford Moor.


    Low Moor.


  Up to 1995 we had established a Christmas Fair in Bradford City Centre, close to City Hall.

  Prior to the commencement of the reconstruction of Bradford City Centre, to be named "Centenary Square" we were invited to a meeting on 15 January 1996, called "Technical Design Meeting Fairground Operations". The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the operation and technical issues of Fairground equipment in the City Centre, specifically, Centenary Square and Broadway.

  We have not been allowed on the Square since its completion and once again another Fair, our Christmas Fair, has been lost and another site denied.

  However as part of a larger event we have been invited by organisers to supply small amounts of amusements around the perimeter of Centenary Square.

  The Marshalls have travelled in the West Riding of Yorkshire for 150 years. The Marshalls were the first to bring Cinema to Bradford, to the site in fact which now houses the National Museum of Photography, Cinema and Television.

  We strongly feel that Bradford Council has and does now treat in an unfair manner and has no understanding of the hardship they have caused to our family, the businesses and our tenants these past years.

  Other local authorities have a more positive attitude towards Showpeople and their requirements.

  Leeds: Parks and Countryside Division have provided us with more security by granting to us Three to Five Year Licences for Fairs in their parks.

  Calderdale: Have opened new parks this year to accommodate us.

  Wakefield: Although Wakefield compulsorily purchased one of our family owned sites in Castleford have after a lapse of a few years found us an alternative ground in a good location.

  Kirklees: Highways Department, despite fierce opposition from local groups and senior citizens living adjacent granted us a trial fair on what was Batley's local fairground for many generations. I am pleased to report that we are now entering our fourth year back at Batley.

  If the above Local Authorities had adopted the same policy as Bradford there would be very few traditional Fairs left in West Yorkshire.

February 2000

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 2 March 2000