Monday, 14 May 2012

Stow Fair

There have been a few reports about the mess caused by Stow fair and who should pay for the clean up job with suggestions that the site owner and gypsies should pay for this. So on first reflection you could think fair enough. However the main complaint seems to be to do with the mud and problems resulting of that, especially due to the bad weather. I fail to have much sympathy for the local council on this matter when it turns out that the site owner has applied for planning permission on several occasions to put in a gravel path for the vehicals to enter and leave by. I shouldn't be suprised that these applications have been turned down.

Fair enough that the field is in an area of outstanding natural beauty and it is the job of the council to protect such an area from being spoiled, after all this is in all of our interests. However the owner has applied to put in a gravel drive which would be more sympathetic than a concrete road and clearly his reason for wishing to make this expense is to reduce damage and mess caused by fair goers and to create a safer environment for visitors.

In my opinion these old fairs are one of the things that actually help to keep our countryside green and beautiful while enabling all and sundry to benefit from rural England. The countryside is not a theme park just for the passive entertainment of the wealthy, it cannot always be expected to be clean, tidy and perfect. The countryside throughout the centuries has always been busy with industry of one sort or another, be it farming, fairs or any other way that country folk rely upon the land to earn a living. We can't all work in town and reside in a country idyll and if we are not careful our countryside will become an exclusive retreat and before you know it there wont be any real countryside left.

So sure, if fair goers leave rubbish, make them clear it up, if they create public hazards then advise them of how to sort it. But when the organisers attempt to take appropriate action to improve the standards of their fair, why tie their hands and prevent them from doing so?

Why also would anyone begrudge them some tax payers money for any additional policing or ambulences required for the fair? Contrary to popular opinion, most travellers DO pay tax on their earnings, after all most people with an address, bank account or national insurance number will struggle to avoid such contributions. Further more any public costs resulting from a fair are a drop in the ocean when you consider what the tax payer is handing over for the olympicsl.

You could be forgiven for thinking that some people don't want fairs!

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