TRAVELLERS are hoping to find a new home for Kenilworth Horse Fair after the plug was pulled on the event.
Horse fairs have been held on land off Thickthorn island three times a year since 2001.
Warwick District Council and police say despite putting plans in place the event still causes disruption, with the gathering in July 2017 seeing reports of criminal damage to properties and vehicles around the site.
And after meetings with the landowners, it has been agreed no more fairs will be held on the former greenbelt land, which has been earmarked for the development of 760 homes under the council’s local plan.
The move has been met with ‘disappointment’ from travellers, who now say they are looking for alternative sites to hold the event on.
Potential locations have not been revealed due to fear the brakes will be put on plans, but travellers have told the Observer they are all nearby.
Member of the travelling community Mike Davidson, who advertises the fairs, told the Observer: “To lose Kenilworth fair is a sad day for our community, and for non-travellers and horse-loving people too.
“In the time it has been running the trouble in the town has been minimal and I hope the town’s shops and pubs benefitted too.
“The site was organised and folk kept to themselves. Everyone was welcome, all rubbish was cleaned and we had litter pickers working to keep it tidy.
“Thousands will be disappointed with it ending so I really hope the organisers have found a new site. It is only the field that is gone. If an alternative site can be found the Kenilworth fair will still go on.”
The horse fair sees thousands of travellers meet at the land at Thickthorn, with many stopping in Kenilworth and the surrounding towns on the days before and after the events.
It is one of many fairs held across the country, including the popular Appleby Horse Fair.
Warwick District Council says it has heard ‘rumours’ of the travellers looking for a new site in Kenilworth, but welcomed the move to stop the horse fair at Thickthorn.
Kenilworth coun Michael Coker said: “The town has suffered a great deal of inconvenience over the years and most, if not all people will be very pleased about this.
“There are a lot of troublesome incidents when the horse fair is on.”
And district coun leader Andrew Mobbs added: “After many years of problems relating to the horse fair, I am pleased for the people of Kenilworth that our recent efforts supported by the police have led to the agreement that this event will no longer take place.
“Now that the agreement has been made, all parties will continue to work together to maintain good relationships within our community.”