'Lessons learned' over pumpkin festival traffic chaos

The pumpkin festival at Ravensknowle Farm has grown to become one of the biggest in the UK.
The pumpkin festival at Ravensknowle Farm has grown to become one of the biggest in the UK.

"Lessons have been learned" over the traffic chaos caused by masses of people visiting a pumpkin festival in Pontefract, the council's transport chief has insisted.

Such has been the popularity of the festival at Ravensknowle Farm, on Pontefract Road, huge tailbacks hit the town and surrounding areas on Saturday October 20 and Sunday October 21.

Pontefract South councillor David Jones

Pontefract South councillor David Jones

The event has grown to become one of the largest of its kind in the UK, but such was the impact on Pontefract, Featherstone and the village of Purston Jaglin that weekend, organisers Heather and Robert Copley apologised on social media to those affected.

Wakefield Council put measures in place to avoid a repeat of the situation over the last weekend of the month and says it will make sure the roads are prepared for the event in future years.

But Pontefract South councillor David Jones said a "massive amount of trouble" had been caused to the town.

Speaking at a full council meeting, he said: "Added to all the traffic was the fact people were just dumping their cars all over the town centre.

"Hopefully Highways will be able to sort it out.

"It's a bit sad because the same thing happened last year.

"It's a great event - I know 130,000 pumpkins are going to get shifted - but it's something that's causing problems for other businesses in our town, as well as Featherstone."

The issue was also raised in the chamber by Featherstone councillor Richard Taylor.

In response, the council's portfolio holder for transport Matthew Morley quipped: "If you're going to be a world tourist destination, you're going to have traffic problems."

He then added: "A new traffic plan has been put in place. Lessons have been learned and it's in the diary for future years when the event takes place."