Calls to ban annual fair at Gawthorpe’s Maypole events

Gawthorpe Maypole Carnival. The procession.
Gawthorpe Maypole Carnival. The procession.
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A TUG of war has broken out over the traditional fair that entertains young people at Gawthorpe’s Maypole Procession every year.

A group of villagers have submitted a petition to Wakefield Council urging them to ban the fair, which they believe attracts trouble during the four nights it runs.

But the council said they received a second petition in support of the attraction that picthes on land of Swithenbank Avenue for the Maypole events.

Councillors, police and the members of the Maypole committee met on Monday to discuss the petitions.

And they said further meetings were needed with the people who submitted them before a decision could be made.

Susan Walshaw, of the Gawthorpe Maypole Committee, said the fairground rides had been coming for nearly 140 years and hoped a solution could be found that wouldn’t result in scrapping it.

She said: “I can understand what the residents are saying, and on occasions there has been trouble on the last night the fairground has run. But perhaps if the youths were stopped from coming in gangs it would help the situation. It seems to be gangs coming from other areas that cause the problems.”

The fair operates from Friday to Monday on every May Day weekend, to coincide with the procession.

Coun Ian Bunney said: “It does cause a bit of bother occasionally, but I feel the police are on top of it now.”

Glynn Humphries, the council’s service director for cleaner and greener, said: “We are aware of the long tradition of the funfair at the maypole procession and of the issues around it. We are working with all partners involved, including the organisers of the fun-fair to try and find a solution and a way forward.”

Insp Jo Mercer, of the northwest neighbourhood police team (NPT), said: “A meeting took place to consider what measures could be introduced if a future application is submitted in 2013.

“In addition meetings with the lead petitioners will take place to discuss and to try and allay their fears and concerns.”