THE CONTROVERSIAL Kenilworth Horse Fair could take place at Thickthorn – despite no permission being given by the council.
Earlier this year the Observer exclusively revealed plans for the fair to continue despite being cancelled in 2018 after the owners of land off Thickthorn Island sold up to make way for a new 760 home development.
Organisers of the event are publicising it as being held from Thursday April 25 to Sunday April 28 on the same site as before.
Warwick District Council (WDC) says it has not given permission for the fair to be held there, and neither have the trustees of the Thickthorn site.
And council chief executive Chris Elliot is warning anyone thinking of going in the hope of the fair being on during these dates, not to bother.
He said: “We are aware of rumours circulating that the Kenilworth Horse Fair will be taking place at Thickthorn. We would like to state categorically that the trustees of the Thickthorn site for the horse fair have confirmed that they have not given permission for the event to take place and no permission has been sought or given by Warwick District Council for the fair to take place on any other site in Kenilworth or the surrounding area.
“To avoid disappointment and unnecessary travel we therefore urge people not to arrive in Kenilworth over the last weekend in April on the speculation that the horse fair is taking place. Under the agreement made last year following the September event, there will no longer be a horse fair held in Kenilworth on the site at Thickthorn.”
Last year police and the council welcomed the news that September’s fair was to be the last, saying despite putting plans in place the event still caused disruption.
The fair had previously taken place three times a year.
There were regular reports of criminal damage to properties and vehicles around the site, and some pubs and shops in the town have even closed their doors during the event.
But organisers of the fair – which has taken place in the town since 2001 and attracts thousands from the traveller community – say the events are a way to find out more about traveller and gypsy culture.
He told the Observer: “Fairs like Kenilworth, Appleby and Stow are the only times when the whole community from the UK and around the world can get together and meet.
“They are for everyone with interests in the same things – whether gypsy folks or country people. I hope if it does return this year that maybe folks who knock it, and who have never been, can come along and help one of the only cultures left in this country keep going.
“Keeping horse fairs is the same as keeping race meetings. You must have places where everyone can meet and keep doing what they love. Don’t knock what you’ve never tried – listening to others sometimes is the worst thing you can do.”