Easter fair in Yarmouth cost more than £10,000 last year

The annual Easter Fair in Great Yarmouth Market Place.April 2015.Picture: James Bass

The annual Easter Fair in Great Yarmouth Market Place.April 2015.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Great Yarmouth's traditional Easter fair cost the borough council more than £10,000 last year, it has been revealed.

The annual Easter Fair in Great Yarmouth Market Place.April 2015.Picture: James Bass

The annual Easter Fair in Great Yarmouth Market Place.April 2015.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

It came as councillors decided on Wednesday officers should look into different ways to manage the fair and research increasing fees and charges.

And a report seen by councillors said: 'Looking forwards it is likely that the cost of this event will be higher than the income it generates for the Council.'

The soaring costs came after the fair had to be overhauled last year, following a number of significant concerns raised by Great Yarmouth's Event Safety Advisory Group (ESAG).

One of the main concerns was the need to review road closures and employ traffic marshals, after a young child was hit by a car and killed at the Easter Fair in Kings Lynn.

Great Yarmouth - Easter fair photographed from the Helter Skelter, shows the way it straggles over t

Great Yarmouth - Easter fair photographed from the Helter Skelter, shows the way it straggles over the market place and Brewery plain pic taken 1950s c13168 pic to be used in edp dml 17th april 2015


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But there were also worries about staff using their own mobile phones to communicate, whether the first aid cover provided by St John's Ambulance was adequate and the need to review the lost child procedure.

Site evacuation procedures also needed to be put into place, and general staffing had to be looked at.

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The report said: 'ESAG, including the Police, felt strongly that Council staff working overtime were not appropriate in doing any more than simply helping visitors with way finding, and that to police the event SIA staff should be employed.'

But all these changes cost thousands of pounds, and last year's event cost £10,376.

GREAT YARMOUTHEASTER FAIR ON THE MARKET PLACEDATED APRIL 1952PLATE P5316

GREAT YARMOUTHEASTER FAIR ON THE MARKET PLACEDATED APRIL 1952PLATE P5316

In 2015 it is thought the fair made £5,298, but council records are not clear and 'budget codes for these years were not specific to the Easter Fair'.

In terms of income, the report said: 'Records of Easter Fair rents are sketchy. Traditionally the lead cabinet member set these on annual consultation with the Showman's Guild.

'However a detailed breakdown of rental charges in 1992 showed that in reality rents for the fair had hardly changed and that as a result rental income from the fair had remained fairly stable, bringing the Council between £14,500 and £15,500 per annum.'

This year rents were increased by 5pc, but with the number of traders lower this didn't cause a substantial increase in income.

Now, officers may look toward Kings Lynn as an example of how the fair could be managed. This event is operated by the Showman's Guild directly, where they pay the council a lump sum to hire the land. However, some resources would still be needed by the council.

The report added: 'Several meetings have been arranged with the guild to discuss this option to see if they are interested in working this way at Great Yarmouth; however the Showmen have subsequently not attended these meetings.'

At Wednesday's Economic Development Committee meeting UKIP leader and Gorleston councillor Kay Grey asked why these meetings hadn't been attended.

She said: 'It's not a case of the borough making money it's the fact they have been so disrespectful to not turn up to meetings and not give a reason why.'

Michael Jeal, Labour councillor for Nelson ward, said: 'When I was the cabinet member in 2012/13 I had a number of meetings with the Showman's Guild and at no time did anyone ever say we losing money.'

Barry Coleman, committee chairman and Conservative councillor for West Flegg added: 'This is an event and this does bring people to the town and it's part of the cultural heritage so one could argue that it's a small amount on money to invest.'

Labour leader Trevor Wainwright, for Magdalen ward, added: 'This should not be costing the council tax payers.'

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