How do you feel about funfairs?

[Sequel is here]

The two funfairs that visited this summer would like to come back in March and April 2012. How do we feel about that? Did you go? Did you enjoy them? Did you notice any problems? Are they too close together in time? Should they go somewhere else in the park? Please let us know.

Some thoughts:

  • Both fairs are aimed at families with kids. They enclose the fairs and charge £1 for entry. They don’t allow alcohol or groups of unaccompanied youths, and they use tokens for rides. The Leabridge ward Community Action Panel (CAP) is apparently happy with them, as is the Beecholme Estate TRA.
  • Some Casimir Road residents raised concerns with MUG about street behaviour nearby.
  • Irvin’s in July broke the rules about protecting trees and grass (see photos below). In view of the rules about keeping vehicles away from trees, perhaps the arboretum is not a suitable area for them.
  • Both fairs want to visit for 2 weekends. One of them is going to be closed on the weekdays in between, just occupying part of the park. Counting their set-up and take-down days the two fairs will be on Millfields for 4 of 8 weeks in March and April. Is that too much?

Irvin’s put a pool here in July. Grass still hasn’t recovered in October.

Council rules say: No plastic or rubber carpet underlay shall be placed on the grass at any time. Coconut matting or similar materials shall not be laid on the grass for more than 3 days. No wooden flooring shall be laid on the grass for more than 10 days.       

Irvin’s parked this articulated cab right next to a young tree for a fortnight. Tree roots extend underground to 12 times the trunk diameter, so the roots were being crushed by the weight, and asphyxiated as air was forced out of the soil. Vehicles were parked as close as they could get to other trees in the arboretum. But most of the young trees have crowns at head height, so the vehicles couldn’t get as close as with this narrow Lombardy poplar.  They may have been breaking the rules at other trees too – but we didn’t get photos.


The wheel marks at the same spot three days after the end of the fair show that the HGV was just a metre away from the tree trunk (the length of my jacket on the ground).

Council rules say:   Vehicles shall be parked on boards / tarmac at all times.   The Hirer shall ensure that no vehicles park next to the base of trees, even on tarmac areas. The following requirements for the distance of vehicles from the base of trees shall be:  

Cars – 4 metres

Vans, caravans – 5 metres
HGVs, coaches, plant vehicles and generators – 7 metres 

13 thoughts on “How do you feel about funfairs?

  1. Anonymous

    March or April but not both

    maybe late august would be ok

    and one in North Millfields and one in South Millfields, which would give residents a break, whilst the fairs don’t cause much nuisance, they do cause a little, so spreading the load is only fair (pun intended)

    Love ‘N’ Laughter Kriss Lee X X

  2. Anonymous

    They are too close together and there too long. For people who don’t want to visit they take up a lot of the park. We visited the first one and spent £14 to get 3 (short) rides per child – felt ripped off – They advertise a certain rate per ride outside but once you’re in they seem to have a lot of rides with more expensive prices that ‘aren’t included’! Better value to go to Southend (and I never thought I’d recommend that to anyone!) – might even work out cheaper!

  3. Anonymous

    I think the fairs are too close together and should be spread around different venues.I find the street very noisy when there is a fair going on.Thanks Tim for giving people chance to say something about the fair situation i thought there were too many this year.

    Do the council get a lot of money for allowing the fairs to be in the park?

    Ann,Hillstowe St. resident.

  4. Anonymous

    There is definitely a noted change in atmosphere during the fairs on Leagrave St, Hillstowe Street & Chatsworth Rd. Leabridge end, where I live and sadly, as a result, I am quite opposed to them. There is quite a lot of additional truck traffic & activity for the set up & take down as well as visitor traffic & parking while the fairs are running. The area becomes very noisy, busy and a bit neurotic and worried for the duration of the fair, I don’t see any advantages as to my mind they aren’t attractive fairs. I feel that there are other temporary events that Millfields could accommodate which would be more suited to the quite specific & special nature of the place. It is quite different to Weaver’s Fields, E1, which hosts similar fairs or Allen Gardens which hosts the mella. Due to negativity of this post, I would rather remain anonymous on this blog! However, I would be happy to write a signed letter to the council.

  5. MUG secretary (Tim Evans)

    (The last) Anonymous said:
    “visitor traffic & parking while the fairs are running”
    That’s a useful point.

    “there are other temporary events that Millfields could accommodate which would be more suited”

    Can we talk about that a bit? What have you got in mind?

    Ann asked:
    “Do the council get a lot of money for allowing the fairs to be in the park?”

    According to the LBH events policy consultation back in February, the charges are:
    Large funfair (more than 10 rides): £800/day + £300/day during set-up/takedown
    Extra large funfair (more than 20 rides): £1,000/day + £400/day.
    In 2010/11 LBH aimed to generate £40K from parks events and got £51k.
    The draft policy proposed that once the council had met its target, surplus income would be shared among parks. We commented that we thought this a bit of a con.

    In the draft policy the council proposed a maximum for Millfields of just 1 fun fair per year.

    (See the 2 items in February about the events policy consultation – which we’ve heard no more about despite its being part of the build up to the Olympics.)

  6. Anonymous

    “there are other temporary events that Millfields could accommodate which would be more suited” Can we talk about that a bit? What have you got in mind?

    What I am thinking is gentler, less aggressive events, for example apple days/ other food festivals, car boot sales, steam threshing, sports events/ days building on the already established activities- e.g. bicycle polo days, basketball tournaments, tag rugby, small poetry/ theatre or music events.

    The park isn’t a loud, tough & busy urban space, it’s a relatively quiet, calm place, with a good mixture of rather informal mature & young planting (which has suffered due to the fairs as discussed above), and lots of playing, promenading & cycling. During the periods when the fairs are present as well as homes feeling more vulnerable, as a female, walking through the park feels less safe than usual, as I mentioned earlier, there is a certain uncomfortable atmosphere abound, I find. There is one other recent pattern that is troubling, that of the gang who take the small but super loud motorbikes out in the evenings, they are very aggressive, accompanied by the usual dogs etc.

    I appreciate that the income generation aspect is central to the council’s interest, but if they need to raise the aforementioned figures across the borough, they should distribute the pressure evenly across the borough. I may be wrong, but it seems that the Millfields fairs are catering for people from outside Hackney, who are chiefly coming by car, our position at the fringe of the borough, on a major artery out, makes us perfect for this. Unfortunately! Perhaps this could be used to our advantage somehow?

  7. MUG secretary (Tim Evans)

    That’s an interesting shopping list and chimes with some things we’ve been investigating. I think I’ll post it as a new item (with thoughts from our investigations) and see if that attracts a few more people to carry on exploring possibilities. OK with you?

    Elegant description of the park, too. Can I pinch it for the home page we’re drafting?

    On the motorbikers, have you talked to the community police (‘Safer Neighbourhoods’) team about it? Contacts are in the Community Action Panel link in the item. But that’s not to fob you off – I’d like to know more so we can see about taking it up, maybe through the CAP.


  8. MUG secretary (Tim Evans)

    I’ve now sent in MUG’s comments on the funfair applications and I’ll post them here shortly. Thanks everyone for your thoughts. It’s enormously encouraging to get this kind of conversation going.

    If you have other things to add, please still chip in — we may be having a second bite at these applications depending on the council’s response to our comments. And this subject will come round again in future.

  9. emmajack

    I agree with Anonymous above’s shopping list – the fun fairs seem rather at odds with the kind of park Millfields is – I would definitely attend some of the possible events listed – great ideas, thanks.

  10. MUG secretary (Tim Evans)


    I’ve posted MUG’s comments to the council at a new item.

    The council has now asked MUG to a meeting about this, so please keep your comments coming, everyone. You don’t have to add new ideas: just agreeing with someone else helps us know what you think.


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