Welfare Park Funfair April 2020

The funfair in Welfare park brings a level of excitement for many and should be seen as a positive event for our village. However, annually the NCC receives a raft of complaints about the event and is exploring more current concerns along with the historical issues, to see if these can be mitigated. To be completely transparent, the NCC is quite divided on whether the fair should go ahead, but in the interest of compromise reassurance that the mitigations listed below would be adopted would mean the NCC would support the event.

Historically the funfair was invited by the Gala as part of their fundraising as some amount was donated to their cause.  There are no current benefits to local causes from the fair, so the positive outcomes are the enjoyment of families and predominantly young people attending. We are unsure if this is enough and would ideally seek the realignment of the fair with village heritage.

The application highlights an expected capacity of 150, this is currently below isolation requirements for Coronavirus in Scotland.

Last year, there was improvement in some of the negative issues raised, but some argue this was more down to poor weather and a repeat of 2018’s warm spring would likely see a return of the same antisocial behaviour. [update with data from police reports]

Negative issues are listed 

Issue Description Mitigation Comment
Drunkenness generally and under-aged drinking From early afternoon, particularly Friday and Saturday, underage drinking and antisocial behaviour has been prevalent. Young people attending, even quite directly after school on the Friday, have had to share the route to the fair with inebriated kids and antisocial behaviour – this is completely unacceptable.

Antisocial behaviour related to heavy drinking isn’t confined to youth, the fair particularly in combination with good weather has seen extra demand on policing.

Refuse 1pm start.

Suggest 4pm start at earliest, or 6pm as for Thursday with a “family day” start on Sunday from 2pm.

The NCC would insist on an 8pm finish, 6pm Sunday.

Previously the CC have debated this and suggested nothing prior to 4 or 5 pm should be licensed. Maybe even follow the 6pm start of Thursday with a more family day on the Sunday allowed to start at 4pm.
The 8pm finish last year seemed successful in reducing police and antisocial behaviour incidents (anecdotally, there may have been other factors – including weather).
There is evidence that children are consuming alcohol and this can’t be ignored. Aligning the fair start time with parents returning from work might assist
Tidying of park The damages bond should include cost for tidying the park.  Litter patrols and landscaping are required after the shows finish. Bond money is sufficient to cover tidying and repair to damages (see below)

A commitment from Environmental Services to review the condition of the park prior, during and post the event is needed to ensure bond money is released  or retained appropriately.

The NCC would request that the figure and breakdown of how it is calculated is released.

The NCC seeks a commitment from MC that a bond is at an appropriate level and is properly managed. Photographs of the site should be taken pre and post event as evidence the park is left in the condition it was found.
Costs towards policing The commitment and extra resources supplied by Police Scotland should be taken into account. 
Consideration made for youth workers to be engaged within the park during the opening hours Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Potential complexity around addressing the costs of policing could be mitigated by a donation to youth work teams
Damage to grounds Currently the grounds are saturated, the likelihood of heavy equipment damaging the fields is high. Stipulations made that no motorised vehicle may move out with the requested area of the event and the only access to and from may be made via the Abbeylands Pavillion.  Also the set-up and exiting to be made during set times.

Impact assessment from the parks team would be helpful

As for “tidying of the park”
Capacity claim, boundaries of fair and Covid-19 Transmission  Claimed capacity of 150 and all units, including support vehicles within stipulated area- there’s the potential for much higher numbers and the NCC is unsure of how numbers are monitored, if they are. Currently events of 500 and over are banned. A police or appropriate authority check on numbers should be applied and environmental services should be in place before the event is opened to ensure all vehicles are in the correct places. The NCC is unsure what procedures might be in place for this, so request an update ahead of the deadline for transparency.
Lack of oversite of Licensing requirements: specifically noise and the above issues The Licensing section need to provide better sound and environmental monitoring over the weekend and evenings of the event.  This has been a consistent complaint. Without constant monitoring, the only other reasonable mitigation is to adhere to recommendations about restricted operations period and 8pm finish. As above
Feature image courtesy Canmore


Jeremy Adderley

Jeremy Adderley

I'm involved with the Newtongrange Community Council because I want to preserve our status as a proud village and ensure residents have a say in local development

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