Despite warnings of traffic congestion in Newton Stewart, Cree Valley Community Councillors voted by four votes to three to keep ‘the shows’ in the Riverside Car Park this autumn rather than move them to Minnigaff Playing Fields.
The fairground attractions are due to arrive in Newton Stewart on Wednesday, October 12 and leave on Monday, October 24, reducing the number of parking spaces available in the main town car park at a time when parking in Victoria Street and behind the old town hall is limited due to construction work.
Before the vote, community councillor David Inglis warned that the fair arriving then was “a major issue” for the town as it will clash with the annual calf sales at Newton Stewart market, on October 14 and 15, when almost 3000 animals will go through the ring.
He said: “Not only is it the calf sales, it’s also the school holidays. It’s not right that half the town car park is taken up with the fair. This is a bone of contention again for Cree Valley Community Council as we have not found somewhere else for them to go. We want the fair, but the main car park is not the place for it.”
The problem with the alternative site at Minnigaff was the position of a fence on site. But Mr Inglis proposed that the community council welcomed the fair to Minnigaff and the CVCC covered the cost of removing and replacing the fence post.
CVCC member Bob Boan’s amendment was that the fair came to the Riverside Car Park, as usual, and the amendment was duly carried by one vote.
Mid Galloway councillor Graham Nicol said: “It is obvious we have a parking problem in Newton Stewart, when the main street is partially unavailable and the old town hall park. As far as the lorries are concerned for the market, there is an alternative. Parking could be available on Barnkirk Road, with a little organisation and stewarding, lorries could be stacked up there and brought down as and when they were needed. This would require some sort of liaison between the market, the community council, Dumfries and Galloway Council and the police, and it is vital to keep the big cattle lorries out of the Riverside Car Park.
“Every year we have this problem with the fair and I can appreciate that the fair operators would prefer to be in the town centre. It would be better if we could sort this out as there is a chance that next year the structure of the Sparling Bridge could take up a lot more car parking spaces. Hopefully this will not be the situation as I would like it to be placed in it’s new position as soon as possible.”