Historic Nelson Funfair could be cancelled over failure to agree site

Nelson could be set to lose its historic annual funfair.

Previously a summer fair going back 100 years, Taylor’s Funfairs have been running the 12-day pre-Easter event on Carr Road since 2007.

However, there has not been a funfair in Nelson since March 2020, due to the first coronavirus lockdown.

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“We wrote 2020 off due to the pandemic, and reluctantly accepted there would be no fair last year either,” said fairground boss David Taylor. “However, we were astonished that the council told us we could not visit this spring either, or help us find a fresh site for the future.”

The funfair site in Carr Road, NelsonThe funfair site in Carr Road, Nelson
The funfair site in Carr Road, Nelson

As the Carr Road site is due to redeveloped to make way for a new police station, the fairground will eventually have to find a new home in Nelson. However, at the time of writing the sale of the land had not gone through.

Granted a licence until 2023, Taylor’s and other showmen before them contributed “a significant amount” towards resurfacing the site to make it more suitable for fairs and other events.

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Furthermore, David Taylor claims Pendle Council did not offer any rent refund to compensate for the six days lost in 2020 (the fair only operated for three days out of a planned nine).

He said: “We want to bring the annual fair back for the people of Nelson, who deserve a bit of fun after the last two years.

“This event has a long standing tradition, and I cannot let this matter rest. Even if the sale of the site was completed today, it’s highly unlikely the diggers would be moving in tomorrow. I therefore see no reason why we can’t proceed with a pre-Easter event as per our original agreement with the council.”

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Mr Taylor added that the local authority had previously promised to help find a new site for the fair as a replacement for Carr Road. Yet he has since been told there are no suitable sites available anywhere in Nelson.

“We would even consider putting on an event in the town centre,” he said. “Given the challenges facing many shopping destinations right now, surely this would breath some much needed life into the town?”

Pendle Borough Council said it has been in talks with Taylor’s Funfairs about finding it a new site.

Rose Rouse, chief executive, said: “The land where the funfair has been based for a number of years is no longer available because we’ve sold it to Lancashire Constabulary.

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“We’ve contacted the new owners to see if it would be possible for the funfair to be on the site before any work starts and this was being considered.

“Meanwhile, we’ve looked at alternative sites in Pendle but we don’t currently have any which are suitable for hosting the funfair.

“We’ve asked Taylor’s about other options, including moving the event to the summer which could potentially open up further suitable sites.”

Taylor’s Funfairs was granted a licence, not a lease, which ran until 2023.

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This was legally terminated by the council in June 2019 when discussions started with Lancashire Constabulary who were interested in buying and developing the land.

A one-off licence was granted in March 2020 to allow the funfair to visit and Taylor’s were only charged for the days it operated.