Review into Pontefract pumpkin festival will go ahead

Organisers of a pumpkin festival that proved so popular that it led to miles of grid locked traffic admit they will need to re-think the set up for next year.

Friday, 2nd November 2018, 2:48 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd November 2018, 3:48 pm

The annual event at Farmer Copleys has continued to grow and record numbers of visitors have come through the gates this year.

However, it was heavily criticised for struggling to cope with the sheer volume of people across the weekend of October 20/21, when it was thought that over 28,000 people made their way to Ravensknowle Farm.

It led to tailbacks being reported around Pontefract and Featherstone, and even sparked a debate at Wakefield Council’s full council meeting this week.

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'Lessons learned' over pumpkin festival traffic chaos

However, following lengthy discussions with Wakefield Council and the police, new entry and exit measures were put in place over this weekend which helped avoid any further chaotic scenes.

Now owners Rob and Heather Copley say they will be working with the police and Wakefield Council to avoid problems in future.

Heather said: “At the weekend we had no standing traffic at all, it went perfect, so we will look at doing this next year. We keep saying every year that it won’t get any bigger but it keeps growing.

“We have a meeting in the next few weeks to decide for next year and anything is up for negotiation.

“We thought about ticketing the event but we would like to avoid that if we can, but we don’t want to be snarling up the roads.”

The weekend saw traffic given access to Ravensknowle Farm, on Pontefract Road, from the Pontefract side only, and all vehicles exiting towards Featherstone.

Heather and Rob have continuously apologised for the traffic issues and admit they were hurt by many of the comments posted across social media.

Heather added: “I think Rob and I are a shadow of our former selves and we worry about everything - the weather and upsetting people.

“We just want people to enjoy it because it is something that whole family can enjoy.”