A fun fair operator is seeking legal advice after having a two week visit to a Moorlands town cancelled. The decision to cancel Cheadle Wakes, which had set to start on Friday (June 4) evening in Tean Road Recreation Grounds, came after an out-break of Covid-19 in the neighbouring Moorlands town of Leek. Cheadle Town Council, which has remit over the recreational grounds, issued a statement on Friday at 4.50pm about the decision to cancel the fair, which had already arrived and been set up at the site.
A fun fair operator is seeking legal advice after having a two week visit to a Moorlands town cancelled.
The decision to cancel Cheadle Wakes, which had set to start on Friday (June 4) evening in Tean Road Recreation Grounds, came after an out-break of Covid-19 in the neighbouring Moorlands town of Leek.
Cheadle Town Council, which has remit over the recreational grounds, issued a statement on Friday at 4.50pm about the decision to cancel the fair, which had already arrived and been set up at the site.
A spokesman for Cheadle Town Council said: “It is with deep regret that the scheduled Warwick’s Funfair, planned for two weeks from Friday, June 4, 2021, has been cancelled at short notice.
“This decision has been taken following instruction from Public Health England, Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire County Council following the discovery of a Covid-19 outbreak in the Staffordshire Moorlands last week.”
They added: “Cheadle Town Council have done everything possible to comply with these directions whilst maintaining our relationship with Warwicks Funfair.
“We will make a commitment to the community to hold an event for the young people of Cheadle as soon as we are allowed.”
The Times & Echo contacted Staffordshire County Council regarding the decision. Dr Richard Harling, Director for Health and Care at Staffordshire County Council said: “Leek currently has the highest coronavirus rate in the West Midlands, we must do everything we can to keep coronavirus under control and keep people safe.
“We made the difficult decision to close Warwick’s Funfair in Cheadle on health and safety grounds as we had local police intelligence to suggest many young people from Leek would visit the funfair.
“The Delta Covid-19 variant outbreak in the town is mainly amongst older teenagers and it is highly transmissible.
“Because of this, we felt it would be best to close the funfair and prevent any further spread.”
Paul Warwick Snr, of Warwick Fun Fairs, told the Times & Echo that they were all set up and ready to offer rides and more on Friday (June 4), and had aimed to open their gates at 6pm. That was until they were served an order to cancel the Wakes at 4.15pm.
Mr Warwick said: “We paid out for travel costs, fuel for generators, stock for catering etc. After a year of restrictions and now no income for two weeks.
“I feel it is unfair targeting my business as there are fairs in Hanley and Alton Towers are allowed to remain open.
“This is nothing new, what’s happened to me. I fully expected twists and turns, which is why we’ve gone above and beyond.
“They should never have served this on me. It’s just ludicrous.
“We’ve definitely been victimised. They just decided to have a go at us because they seem to think we’re an easy target.
“They think we’re going to roll over and go away, but I’m liaising with the Showman’s Guild and in the process of taking legal advice.”
Mr Warwick added: “But the annoying thing was they tried to get the town council to do their dirty work.
“Cheadle Town Council have been absolutely fantastic. Every single councillor I spoke to has been 100 per centsupportive and I do thank them for their support because they have been brilliant.”
Cheadle councillor Jamie Evans is one of the town councillors who is unhappy with the decision that the fair was cancelled.
He contacted Dr Harling at Staffordshire County Council to ask for the reasoning behind the decision.
In his reply back to Cllr Evans, Dr Harling said: “The issue with the funfair is a combination of the customers and the environment:
“1. It was likely to attract 14-16 year olds from Leek, which is the demographic with the highest number of cases, and who would likely have been unsupervised and excitable and therefore likely to relax their guard.
“2. It would have involved a relatively large number of people mixing in a small space, with multiple opportunities for transmission either directly from person to person or indirectly via contaminated surfaces – even with best efforts at Covid security control.
“The assessment of the multi-agency incident management team was that this posed a significantly higher risk of infection than pubs, which tend to attract a different age group, or a forest park where people are typically more spread out. The cancellation was therefore a proportionate response to the current outbreak.
“I know that the cancellation will be a disappointment for some local people and I hope that we are able to get the situation under control and avoid any further restrictions of this type.”
Cllr Evans further queried the decision, pointing out that Alton Towers is still open as well as popular destinations in and around Leek, and that there was also a fair in Forest Park, Hanley.
Dr Harling responded with: “I think our view remains that the Cheadle funfair presented a higher risk than these other venues due to the likelihood of attracting potentially infected teenagers from Leek and the proximity and duration of social mixing.
“We will keep these other venues under review and if there are any specific concerns about the risk of transmission we will consider a proportionate response.
“Stoke-on-Trent venues fall under the remit of the city council who have been informed about the situation in Leek so that they can take this into account in their own risk assessments.”
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