Councillors air horse fair fears

Concerned councillors yesterday called for close monitoring of this year's Watton Horse Fair after hearing growing concerns about the event.Members of Breckland's overview and scrutiny commission expressed amazement that the authority does not have any control of the running of the event, which has generated many complaints about the volume of caravans visiting the area and a rise in trouble.

Concerned councillors yesterday called for close monitoring of this year's Watton Horse Fair after hearing growing concerns about the event.

Members of Breckland's overview and scrutiny commission expressed amazement that the authority does not have any control of the running of the event, which has generated many complaints about the volume of caravans visiting the area and a rise in trouble.

Officers told the meeting that as it is a temporary event it does not need planning permission or any licence.

But councillors - including commission vice chairman Philip Cowen - questioned why other events had to be licensed and the horse fair did not.

He said: “It does provoke huge public concerns and surrounding villages suffer considerably.”

Councillor Shirley Howard-Alpe added: “I find it absolutely ludicrous that this is able to go along and cause almighty problems and our hands are tied and we cannot do anything.”

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Members agreed to call for the council to closely monitor the horse fair this May - which is run by Tyrone Roberts on land owned by Andrew Garner - and ask for a report to look at the strategy for the future.

Breckland principal planning officer Greg Britton said the horse fair did not need planning permission as it was held for less than 28 days.

Solicitor Mike Horn said police had previously indicated they would rather the caravans be contained on one site rather than “scattered around Watton.”