Councils foolish to block funfairs

8 Jun 00
Traditional travelling fairs could help trigger an urban renaissance, and local authorities that do not encourage them are 'foolish', according to a new report from MPs.

09 June 2000

The Commons' environment, transport and regional affairs committee described fairs as 'immensely valuable' in economic as well as social and historical terms.

The committee said that many in local government do not properly consider the needs of travelling show people and urged authorities to work with them to stage community events.

It was 'particularly sad that so many towns and cities have tried to banish fairs to out-of-the-way parts of town', the committee added. Funfairs at the heart of community life would encourage an 'urban renaissance'.

Leon Unczur, leisure services chairman at Nottingham City Council, agreed with the committee about the role of travelling fairs within communities. Nottingham hosts Goose Fair, one of the largest travelling fairs in Europe which dates back more than 700 years, and Unczur said it is at the heart of the city's life.

He added: 'Local authorities should embrace fairs. There is something for everyone at a fair and the business they bring in to the area is well worth having.

'At the moment we are looking at a strategy for the fair for the next ten years. We want to see how we can help the showmen increase the size of it. In local government we get bogged down with all the serious issues. Let's have some fun.'


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