Fairground car park use had ‘far-reaching consequences’

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The use of a Newton Stewart car park by a visiting funfair last month should have been subject to public consultation, it has been claimed.

The fair, which took up residence in the town’s Riverside car park at the start of the October holidays, caused complaints from nearby business owners who felt the space taken up was excessive.

At a meeting of Cree Valley Community Council on Monday, Councillor Graham Nicol estimated the fair rides, caravans and other vehicles had taken up at least 50% of the town’s only public car park during a holiday period. Other council members suggested it was closer to 75%.

Secretary Diann Hughes pointed out that she had paperwork from last year sent to the community council from the local authority claiming they would always try to avoid granting access to a visiting fair during a public holiday period, and that the community council would be consulted before permission is granted. This didn’t happen this year.

Councillor Alistair Geddes added that such action was being taken far too often from council officials from elsewhere without discussions between themselves and the people on the ground.

He said: “It’s wholly unacceptable when a town has a business association, such as Newton Stewart, that it is not consulted on this type of thing.

“Enough is enough. “Whether it’s in Newton Stewart, Wigtown, Stranraer or anywhere in between, this should have come to Area Committee for discussion too.

“Something should be put in place to prevent council officials taking decisions withs uch far-reaching consequences.

“The fair coming has its pros and cons. Some say it’s a bit of fun, others say it’s syphoning off money from an encomony already under pressure.”

Gordon Andrews who owns the Galloway Arms Hotel and the Belted Galloway Visitor Centre raised concern over the lack of public spaces within the town at the time.

Councillor Geddes told the community council he himself had requested the fairground be reconfigured, but this didn’t happen.