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

Memorandum by Irvin Leisure (TF 26)

  Please find enclosed three submissions to the Environment Sub-committee that we hope will be useful.

  The first is a submission on VAT and the practice of some local authorities to charge VAT on ground rental.

  The second is a case study on Mile End Park Funfair, an inner city fair in the heart of East London where the local community have worked with the local authority, the police and the Funfair operator to ensure that this important local event continues, even where there have been major difficulties. It is, in our view, an example of good practice in a traditional local authority funfair.

  The third is submitted by Big Time Events Ltd, a company run by three major Funfair operators, George Irvin, Joseph Manning and Willie Wilson, The company was formed initially to manage the Millennium Fairs in the centre of London on New Year's Eve last year and then to look at other major events in the future. The two fairs produced for the Millennium on the Mall and Tower Bridge were magnificent, had attendances of over 1,000,000 people and were trouble free. They are evidence of the professionalism that can be achieved by the Country's top Showmen, and again demonstrate best practice. The report shows that Showmen can arrange entertainment for vast numbers, with proper pre event planning and careful implementation.

Ray Smith
For Irvin Leisure and for Big Time Events Ltd


  We would ask the Sub-committee to recommend the issuing of guidelines to local authorities highlighting that it is unnecessary to include VAT in Ground Rental Fees.

  A Funfair operating in a local authority park or open space is managed by a "Lessee"—a Funfair Management Company such as ourselves. The "Lessee" Company will have hired the space from the local Council and will then bring in a number of Tenants, these being owner operators of both rides and sideshows, to make a mix for the public to enjoy. Many of these tenants have very low annual turnovers and are therefore below the VAT threshold.

  When each ride operator and sidestall holder charges the public they have to levy a fee that the public can afford, and that is also a reasonable and "round figure" such as 50p, £1 or £1.50. This allows the giving of change to be a simple operation, and given that much business is after dark and outside payboxes using cash bags, the prospect of giving small change coins is unrealistic.

  The "Lessee" company, having hired the ground from the local authority, pays a fee for this. As it is Ground Rent, it does not by law have to carry a VAT sum. There are no services involved. Where there is no VAT charged, the "Lessee" can charge the Tenants a rental also without VAT, again perfectly legally. The Lessee and Tenants who are registered for VAT will still be responsible for paying VAT to Customs and Excise for direct income from the public, while those tenants unregistered will not have to pay VAT at all.

  If the local authority provide services, or if they have to undertake work to enable the fair to go ahead they can levy a separate charge which will include VAT.

  However some local authorities have begun charging VAT for the actual Ground Rental. To allow a Lessee to reclaim this from Customs and Excise they would have to levy a VAT charge on all Tenants, and as stated above many of these are not VAT registered. These would suffer a significant increase in costs which they could not pass on to the public. If the "Lessee" does not charge the Tenants VAT, they cannot reclaim the sum from Customs and Excise.

  The sums involved are considerable. An additional 17.5 per cent is a vast sum to find where it cannot be reclaimed. This charge makes some sites unviable and threatens many Showmen.

  The Sub-committee are therefore requested to recommend the issuing of guidelines to local authorities pointing out that, where Ground Rental is the only matter being charged, VAT will not be added to charges, and that any charges incurring VAT should be made separately.

  This would be of great value to the many small operators who provide great entertainment for the public up and down the country.

Mile End Park Funfair—Working Together


  Mile End Park is an important public open space in the borough of Tower Hamlets in East London. The area has hosted annual funfairs for over 50 years, and this report summarises events in the past five years that demonstrate how by working together the Council along with residents and showmen ensured that families could continue to enjoy their fair, despite difficulties.


  Mile End Park is situated in the heart of the East End of London. The open space has actually been developed over the years by successive local Councils, and is very important to local people. It has hosted an annual funfair since the Second World War, and possibly back to the 1920s.

  The area has changed considerably over the years, as has all of the East End which has always been a most receptive area for new arrivals to Britain. In recent years there has been a significant influx of families from the Bangladeshi and Somali communities.

  In 1991, the then controlling group on the Council initiated a policy of decentralisation, which included setting up separate Town Halls, with complete administrations, in six areas of the borough, of which Mile End was one. They established a Forum in each area, at which all local residents could come along and debate, then vote upon, key issues. The decision as to whether funfairs could be held in local parks was one issue delegated to these local forums.

  Prior to this decentralisation, there had been seven annual fairs in Tower Hamlets. However, the only group who agreed to keep their Fair were the Mile End Forum, who voted to keep the annual visit by Irvin Leisure Ltd, and that this should be an 11 day Funfair.

  The reason for this decision was that for several years, Irvin Leisure had attended meetings of local residents from the Estates around Mile End Park both before and during the Funfair to discuss matters of concern to the local residents, and to find ways in which not only could these concerns be met, but that the Fair could add to their lives. These initiatives included running special free afternoons for the elderly and for people with disabilities, and also Irvin Leisure funding developments in the park.

  It was because of this good relationship that residents in Mile End voted to keep their fair. A more formal liaison was then established, with local residents forming a Funfair working party to which the Police would send a representative.


  The working party continued to operate even after Tower Hamlets dissolved the system of Area Management in 1994. The only change was that during the period of Decentralisation, the Forum had control over the fee paid by Irvin Leisure to the local authority, whereas afterwards it reverted to the Council centrally.

  However, the Working Party still had a key role. They would gather from local residents any problems being faced. They would ensure for instance that noise was controlled by getting residents to telephone immediately if there was any difficulty. They would report to the police any nuisance being caused by young people. They would also inform all elderly residents of the free sessions that Irvin Leisure ran at the Fair, so that hundreds of local pensioners would attend the fair during the afternoon and enjoy the rides and refreshments free of charge.

  At pre event meetings, the residents, police, and Funfair would agree stewarding and policing arrangements to make sure that public safety was maintained. Obviously the Police were careful to protect the public but had to be aware of their budgets and not "overstaff". By liaison, they could target their resources carefully, which was of benefit to everyone.

  Further, members of the Working Party would attend the Fair unannounced and monitor the performance of the Fair against the pre event agreements on matters such as prices, layout, music, stewarding and site cleanliness. This was most helpful in ensuring that everything pre agreed was carried out. Then, within two weeks of the fair closing there would be a "debrief" meeting at which everyone would assess the Fair, and begin planning for the following year.

  Because of this successful relationship, the residents of Mile End in early 1997 prepared to ask Tower Hamlets for there to be two visits by Irvin Leisure to their park each year instead of one.

JUNE 1997

  Irvin Leisure returned to Mile End Park in June 1997, and prior to the Fair the usual planning meetings had been held, and Stewarding and Policing levels agreed. However, on the opening day it became clear that two local gangs of youths, who were carrying out a series of violent attacks elsewhere in the borough, had "agreed" to use the funfair as a venue for their violent activities. The police and funfair had to very quickly change the entire operation.

  It was agreed between them that the Fair would close earlier than planned, at 9.00 pm instead of 10 as previously advertised, and that the police would attend in large numbers. This involved them in effectively circling the fair and searching many young people at the entrance to remove weapons.

  The level of potential violence cannot be overstated. Weapons found included machetes, baseball bats, screwdrivers and knives. These were, according to the police, the "normal" weapons of these gangs. Whilst the action of the police prevented any problems actually within the Fair, the local estates suffered badly because these gangs ran around the houses fighting each other and vandalising the area.

  Clearly this level of policing would be totally unsustainable in future years, and despite the popularity of the regular sessions for the elderly and people with disabilities, and despite the surprisingly large attendance by local families at the Fair, the entire future of this event was understandably called into question by the Council.


  At the regular debrief, the Working Party, Police and Irvin Leisure recognised that the events of June 1997 could not be allowed to be repeated. It was agreed that there should be a gap before Tower Hamlets would be asked to agree the Funfair in 1998. During this period, residents' representatives would discuss with their neighbours their views, the police would assess what had happened, and Irvin Leisure would consider the management system and stewarding used.

  Everyone agreed that the incidents at the Fair could not have been anticipated. The Fair had operated for years without any difficulties, and the Police had not anticipated that these gangs would use the Fair for their criminal purposes. Nevertheless, residents' lives had been disrupted, and the police had used major resources during the 11-day visit.

  In Spring 1998 Irvin Leisure attended the annual Community and Residents Group Meeting in Mile End. All local Tenants and other groups could attend this. Irvin's expected considerable opposition to the idea of the Funfair taking place, and so did the local police who also attended.

  However, after a brief discussion of the occurrences in 1997 the meeting was astonishingly unanimous in wishing to see the fair return in 1998. Everyone present, including the pensioners, family groups, representatives from the religious institutions, stated adamantly that "their" fair should not be stopped because of the actions of some criminals. They wanted practical measures introduced that would allow the fair to take place, in safety.

  Irvin Leisure representatives were surprised and delighted with this. Together with the local authority and the Police there were discussions on this, and the simple measure of moving the fair 300 metres from the traditionally used site to another part of the park solved the problems. This placed the Funfair next to Mile End Stadium, so that the floodlights would give additional lighting to the Fairground. Also, slopes naturally screened the entrances to this area, so that entrances were restricted. There was no means to leave the fair directly into housing estates, so that people running from the fair would have a considerable distance before they could hide from view. There was only one problem. There was a block of flats in the middle of the park, close to the site for the fair. It would be necessary for Irvin Leisure to ensure that these families would not be disturbed.

THE FAIR IN 1998 AND 1999

  The Fair relocated to this new venue, within view of the traditional site. Great care was taken to involve the families from the block of flats in planning, and meetings were held with them. All of them were from the Bangladeshi Community, and so some of the younger members of the families interpreted for Irvin Leisure. Many of the young people actually took jobs with the fair, working on stalls and side-shows where their linguistic skills were useful. They possibly learned new expressions in English during this, but frankly they could probably have taught the funfair staff suitably strong phrases in English as well as Bengali!

  For the past two years the fair has been held on this site, and has been a great success. The relationship with the families has been so good that many of the families cook food for the Funfair staff to sample, and in 1999 made the special Stewards' Armbands requested by the police.

  The policing and stewarding of the fair has been improved, and the new site has been most successful for everyone.


  There is only one problem regarding Mile End Park Funfair in the year 2000. The park is subject to a major redevelopment programme, and even the Flats in the Park have been demolished. Therefore this year the present site is not available, and at time of writing this summary the question of the location for the Fair has not been finalised. However it is certain that the residents will want the Fair back, and that the local authority will work very hard to ensure it can take place. After all the effort that has been put in to making this event work, a small matter such as park redevelopment cannot be allowed to stop a tradition dating back 50 years. The model liaison that has been built up is too important for this.

  We believe that the imagination and positive attitude of Officers and Councillors from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets over the years has been a model that other authorities could well follow, as they have met the desires of their residents at a time when it may have been easier to simply cancel the Funfair. We greatly appreciate their work, thank them for this, and look forward to a future of working together.


  This document describes the Millennium Funfairs, a case study of the professionalism of our trade. This first page summarises the complexity of the task faced by the operators of the events in pre event planning, the following four pages and photos are our report on the success of the implementation.

  From the time that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced that there would be a major London Festival for the Millennium Evening, a key part of the plan was to hold major funfairs in Central London. Discussions were held involving the company chosen to organise the entire event, Pacesetter Associates; the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain; and various individual Showmen. Following talks, a consortium consisting of George Irvin of Irvin Leisure Ltd, Joseph Manning of J A E Manning and Sons, and Willie Wilson of Bob Wilson and Sons was selected to run the event and they formed a new company, Big Time Events Ltd, to organise these prestigious Fairs.

  Two locations were identified to host the Fairs. The first was Pottersfields, to the south of Tower Bridge, where the Euro Car Park Site was an ideal venue. The second was St James' Park, but it took several meetings with the Royal Parks Agency to agree that The Mall itself would be the only area that could hold such a Funfair. The Metropolitan Police agreed that this could be staged within their overall emergency plans and following this the Royal Household gave approval.

  An initial measurement of The Mall showed that a large "Street Fair" could be accommodated within the areas identified for the Funfair, and visits were held by the Royal Parks Agency and Pacesetters Associates to the traditional fair at Oxford, so that they could see the level of planning and organisation that always takes place for such occasions. However, there were other considerations for The Mall, involving the overall Central London event and the unique nature of the site.

  The first was the use of The Mall as an evacuation area from Trafalgar Square on New Year's Eve. Should the Police need to evacuate the Square in an emergency, they have always considered The Mall as a key route for 15 to 20 per cent of the numbers. Planning of the Fair had to accommodate this need. The second consideration was the street furniture, the trees and the ceremonial surface of the road. When the principals of Big Time Events Ltd looked at potential rides and attractions, these had to be laid out so that the major features of The Mall including the road surface would be fully protected.

  Working with the Symonds Group, who had been appointed to co-ordinate Risk Assessments and Emergency plans for the overall London Festival, it was agreed that the Fair should be sited along the north side of The Mall only, leaving customer circulation routes to the South. There would also be public walkways behind the Fair on the footpath. Further, after every 40 metres of rides or stalls there should be a three metre gap between the attractions to allow the public to evacuate from the front of the fair to the back if necessary. Also, the entire perimeter of the park would be fenced with six foot high Heras Fencing, and every 125 metres along the front of the fair there would be emergency gates in this fencing stewarded by the Funfair, again for emergency evacuation. The cost of the fencing, 2.1 kilometres of this, plus stewards, Parks Police, Parks Staff, Health and Safety operatives, would all be met by the Fair itself.

  All of these requirements were built in to the funfair specifications, and the three principals then selected a mix of rides and attractions that accorded with these needs. There were 20 different layouts prepared, then each one was tested against the overall safety needs of the London event. The following documents were prepared by the Funfair company and approved by the London Safety Co-ordinating bodies and the Royal Parks Agency prior to the event.

    —  Risk Assessments for the entire area as well as for each individual ride and sideshow.

    —  Method statements for the move on, build up, operaton and dismantling to demonstrate the protection of The Mall.

    —  Emergency evacuation plans for the Fair, for Trafalgar Square, and for St James' Park.

    —  Instructions to Stewards, and police liaison documentation.

  It would have been difficult to design a fair just to meet the needs of the Royal Parks and to protect The Mall, but with the additional safety requirements for 31 December it was a highly complex and skilled task. The attached summary of the actual event shows just how successfully this was achieved.


  This report gives a summary of the success of the two Millennium Bank Holiday weekend funfairs in Central London from 31 December to 3 January, including the events on The Mall and Pottersfields (Tower Bridge). The report is split into six sections, those being Preparation and Set Up; New Year's Eve; Bank Holiday Weekend; Site Clearance; Disappointments and Successes; and Conclusions.

  At time of writing the final invoice from The Royal Parks Agency has not been received and therefore the assessment under "Site Clearance" is based on the verbal comments made by Royal Parks officers at that time.

Preparation and Set Up

  In accordance with the pre agreed arrangements, the Royal Parks Agency contracted Mr Ian Baker from the Symonds Group to act as their Safety Representative throughout the period of preparation, operation and dismantling of the Funfair. His responsibility was to ensure public safety as well as oversee the obligations of the Agency in this regard. In addition, the Park Manager Mr Dennis Clarke and his assistants would remain on duty throughout the funfair to monitor the operation of the fair in accordance with the contractual agreement, and the Royal Parks Police patrolled the site to maintain public order. Therefore both the public and the Royal Parks were fully protected. For Pottersfields, the Symonds Group acted as Safety advisers for the Big Time Festival organisers and the Metropolitan Police were responsible for Public Order. The Health and Safety Executive visited both venues on 30 December for full checks on layout and Y2K compliance.

  There had been considerable pre event planning, particularly for the Funfair on The Mall. This included laying out the rides to include escape routes and anticipated customer flow patterns. However right up to the pull on of the vehicles the principals of Big Time Events Ltd were making adjustments and at the time the site was actually marked out on 28 December it was agreed to reduce the number of children's rides and hooplas in the centre of the fair to increase spacing between stalls. It was also decided to remove the Ticket Booths as they would also interfere with customer flow.

  Funfair rides were moved on to Pottersfields on 27 December and build up took place on 28 December. This allowed the key personnel from Big Time Events Ltd to concentrate on The Mall on 29 and 30 December. The Fire Brigade visited Pottersfields on 28 December and requested some minor alterations to the stall layout in the centre of the Fair to allow them better access for emergency vehicles. This was immediately actioned to the Brigade's satisfaction.

  Fencing was constructed on 28 December in the key areas of St James Park, and in particular around the Funfair site on The Mall. Additional fencing was installed on 29, and the portable toilets were installed on 30 December. Unfortunately the excessively wet condition of the park prevented us from siting these at the original location as they would have to have been towed across a large expanse of grass. However an alternative site was found within St James' Park opposite the existing Men's facilities, and the fencing line adjusted accordingly. Chemical toilets had to be used because of the lack of drainage in the park for mains toilets. This was unfortunate as they are not ideal.

  The main funfair pull on to The Mall commenced at 5 am and ran through until noon. It was smooth and controlled with no difficulties and the build up commenced. It had been intended to rope off the area to prevent the public from gaining access, but this was not possible and staff worked, in line with normal procedures, with public around them. They paid care and attention to safety and there were no problems at all once the Parks Manager had trimmed back a tree to give more space for the Bungee. By 2 pm on 30 December the rides were sufficiently built up to allow the Health and Safety Executive to visit both Pottersfields and The Mall to check on layouts, comparing both to "Best Practice" guidelines and also to pre submitted plans. They also checked Y2K compliance, and confirmed that the list of operators had good working records. After their visit, the Park's Safety Representative checked Test Certificates and Insurance details. These checks were completed on the morning of the 31 prior to opening and all rides and sideshows were accepted as ready to operate.

New Year's Eve

  After receiving confirmation that the Safety Certification, Risk Assessments and Insurance particulars were in proper order, the Funfairs at both Pottersfields and The Mall were ready to open following the 11 am launch ceremonies at both sites. Much to the surprise of all concerned, The Mall was very busy from the first moment. In fact, it has been estimated that over 20,000 people had visited the site before 12 noon, and all rides and attractions were busy from the first moment.

  At Pottersfields the crowds did not start to arrive until 5 pm, but the Fair was busy from then until the close at 2 am. At the peak in Pottersfields there were perhaps 10,000 people on the fairground.

  In The Mall, the Police established a liaison system where they placed one or two officers with the Funfair Head of Security. In this way the Fairground were made aware of any police concerns, and the police kept in contact with the information received from Fairground Stewards. This system was so successful it was kept throughout the four days, and will be recommended as good practice at all future major funfairs.

  It is a mark of the success of all the pre planning that there are no incidents of note to report from the day, despite the vast numbers who visited The Mall. Estimates have been given that over one million people passed down the road between 11 am and 2 am. The only accidents to members of the public were one young girl who slipped and grazed her head on a sideshow, and a late night reveller who tried to hit the electronic punchball but missed and hit the side panel.

  The large numbers caused minor equipment difficulties. The Carousel was damaged at around 9 pm and had to be closed for the rest of the night. No member of the public was affected, and safety barriers were put in place. Repairs were carried out the following morning, a full independent inspection carried out at 12 noon and the Parks Safety Officer cleared the ride to open at 1 pm 1 on January. Perhaps the ride, built in 1884, having already seen in one new century working on New Year's Eve 1899 wanted the night off. The Reverse Bungee closed at 11.30 pm when it needed rope changes (as required after its quota of jumps is completed) and the operator decided that it would be safer to close for the night and undertake the work in the morning.

  The two major problems on 31 December were litter clearance and toilets. The vast numbers of people in the area made it impossible to keep the Fairground site clear of rubbish, and so priority was given to clearing glass bottles. When the Fairground skips were full, we built "cages" at the rear of the site for storing bags. These were cleared from 3 am after the fair closed until 12 noon the following day when the fair reopened. The queues for the toilets were long, but people waited patiently and it is probable that no matter how many toilets had been provided they could not have coped with the vast numbers of people in London that night.

  The funfair turned all music off at 11.45 pm and did not put it back on until 12.15 am after the firework display. The majority of people moved to the Trafalgar Square end of the site to watch the Fireworks, but from 12.15 am until 2 am the Fair was busy again. It must be noted that the behaviour of the crowds was impeccable, even those who had clearly been drinking to excess were happy and not at all violent or anti social. The police were superb and their attitude to the public helped keep the atmosphere relaxed. To our knowledge, apart from one group of pickpockets and a number of youths who had been chased by police from Parliament Square into the rear of the fair, there were no arrests or crimes reported.

  The fair switched off all music at 1.45 am and all rides and attractions closed by 2 am. The foodstalls had some difficulties in clearing queues but the site was empty by 2.15 am when the litter clearance began in full. As stated above, on that night priority was given to clearing glass from the site.

  Pottersfields was similar, in that from 11.30 pm the crowds had moved from the Fair on to the walkways and Embankment, and then returned at 12.15 am. The site had thinned by 1.30 am and completely closing by 2 am was easier than on The Mall. The site clean up was, however, not helped by the rubbish deposited on the grass open space being walked down to the Fairground. Again the focus was on glass and bottles.

The Bank Holiday Weekend

  The Fairs reopened at 12 noon on 1 January. A Special Needs Group had been invited to The Mall and were given "Arm Bands" that granted them free rides all day. The Mall Funfair was again busy from opening, and this lasted through until perhaps 7 pm when the numbers reduced. By 11 pm there were still a reasonable number of people on site. Pottersfields was quiet until 2 pm but was busy through until closing. There was a similar customer flow pattern on 2 January, but on Monday 3 the rain significantly reduced the numbers visiting The Mall, and the attendance at Pottersfields was very low.

  A high priority was given to litter clearance and by 4 pm the bulk of the rubbish from the previous day had been bagged and removed to the rear of the site awaiting collection. From then until the closing of the fair on 3 January the litter was kept under control on both sites.

  Unfortunately the temporary toilets in St James Park were over full and had to be closed on 1 January: Therefore when the Parks toilets were closed at 10 pm there were no facilities in the park for the last two hours. The temporary toilets were serviced on 2 January and from that time to the closing of the fair on 3 January there was more than adequate provision for the number of visitors.

  There was one accident on a ride on 1 January when a six year old girl, accompanied by her grandfather, slipped in a Funhouse and injured her leg. An ambulance was called and the Parks Safety Officer inspected the attraction and was satisfied that it was an unavoidable accident not caused either by the ride or by the method of operation. Full insurance details were given to the victim's family and this has been reported to the Health and Safety Executive.

  The police/funfair liaison system continued. St John's Ambulance attended the fair during the day, and throughout the rest of the stay. There were no problems with the rides from 1 to 3 January in either site and everything was smooth and properly operated. There were no notifiable accidents or any other incidents on 2 or 3 January, and with the police liaison working well the stay was a considerable success.

  On 2 January the Special Needs Groups who arrived for the 10 am to 12 noon session were given Armbands and allowed to stay as long as they wanted. Because of both tiredness of staff and the need to carry out servicing we did not in fact open for them until 11 am but because they were given the additional opportunity to stay all day they were more than happy. On 3 January we operated a similar system. There were a large group of pensioners who were initially given tea and light refreshments. Unfortunately it rained very hard, and many of them went home early without getting full value for their visit, and this is a shame. However we know that many of them did stay for some time as one 80 year old woman was found in the St John's Ambulance having grazed her knee on the Dodgems at 2.30 pm, sitting drinking more free tea!

  The numbers attending on 31 December were assessed at one million visitors to The Mall, and an additional 500,000 over the next three days. Clearly these were not all users of the Fair but they all enjoyed the lights, music and friendly atmosphere. Pottersfields was well attended on 31 December, 1 and 2 January, but the wet weather on 3 January meant it was virtually empty all day. However for January, this was far better weather than we could have anticipated.

Site Clearance

  After the fair closed at 8 pm, the site was cleared of customers by 8.30 pm and the dismantling commenced and took place in complete safety. All funfair vehicles had left the site by 4 am and the area had already been sufficiently clear to allow road sweeping to start at 2 am. The full site inspection took place at 8.30 am, later than planned because of the dark skies, but apart from the need to wash The Mall and some additional litter picking because of the large numbers of visitors, there was no work required in St James' Park and parks officers were satisfied that there was no damage in the park caused by the Fair. This was most satisfactory for everyone. The Mall reopened at 1 pm on 4 January, only one hour later than anticipated, this due to the road washing taking longer than planned. Pottersfields had been fully cleared by 7 am as previously agreed.



  The toilets were inadequate to cope with the crowds on 31 December. Further, from 10 pm until midnight on 1 January no toilets were available in the Park.

  Reason: At the build up, no suitable mains drainage was located to take water based temporary toilets and chemical units were brought in at the last minute. It was not possible to arrange a service call on 1 January, and therefore they were over full and could not be used that day. The parks toilets were locked at 10 pm. However this was rectified by 2 January and there were no further problems.

  Solution: Locate mains drainage in suitable position. Provide additional units for 31 December only perhaps by Horseguards Parade, to be removed on 1 January.

  The Special Groups could not enjoy the fair from 10 am until 12 noon for exclusive sessions. The pensioners group on 3 January may have been disappointed because of the poor weather.

  Reason: The Fair had been much busier than anticipated on the evening sessions and restocking, repairs and staff recuperation took longer than anticipated in the mornings.

  Solution: We actually did allow the special groups to stay after 12 noon for free use of the rides, and apart from on 3 January when wet weather spoiled everything, and this cannot be helped, they were all happy. In future, special groups should be accommodated within the family sessions, for the first four hours of opening, using identifying arm bands. Then they will get full benefit and will arrive at a time when the fair is in full operation.

  The Carousel and Reverse Bungee closed early on 31 December.

  Reason: Damage to the Carousel, Bungee needed Rope Changes, both due to overdemand on 31st.

  Solution: To take action as this year. No repairs can be carried out late at night under these circumstances. Public safety is the first priority.

  The Senior Police Officer in charge on 31st from 8 pm sought to change the Safety evacuation procedure.

  Reason: He was not convinced that the evacuation of the Mall could be achieved in the time stated. He therefore changed the staffing and stewarding systems in operation by re-allocating some police officers. It initially caused confusion at the time.

  Solution: Police to involve the officer who will be on duty on 31 December in planning meetings prior to event so that his legitimate concerns can be addressed at planning stage.


  That the event took place; that over 1.5 million people visited the fair on The Mall alone and had a first class time; that the pricing structure was well received; that the park was left in first class condition; that there were no problems, and in particular that those who had been drinking heavily were well behaved on 31 December; that the press gave considerable positive coverage to both funfairs and are already calling for a repeat this year; and that the liaison between Police, Parks Officers and Funfair key contacts was first class.

  Reason: The professional attitude of all involved with pre event planning; the Royal Parks Police; Royal Parks Officers; and all those involved with the Funfair. It was to achieve this level of professionalism that Big Time Events Ltd was formed.


  There is no doubt that the two Funfairs, at Pottersfields and on The Mall, were highly popular and successful. They took place with no problems, leaving the venues in first class condition when they left. The public and press loved them, and the format established could be used in future Central London Festivals. This section of the Big Time Event was even better than anyone could have hoped, and all the planning and effort was worthwhile. We hope it will be repeated.

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