A bond of £1,500 will be returned to the owner of a travelling funfair which spent three weeks in Keswick’s Fitz Park this summer after no damage was caused to the popular public venue during its stay.
Some critics had feared that grassed areas would be badly churned up by Turners Funfairs’ rides and trucks on their first visit to the town, but parks manager Christine Fawcett, who had been among those expressing concerns in advance if it coincided with wet weather, has given the thumbs-up after examining the site.
It clears the way for the traditional North East-based funfair to return next year, if parks trustees approve a similar £750-a-week deal that brought an unexpected but welcome boost to the park’s coffers.
However, the organisers of the recent Derwentwater Trails are to be told that some of their £750 bond will not be returned after part of the park was badly damaged during the event which was hit by heavy rain on Saturday afternoon.
The annual series of fell races start and finish in Fitz Park and this is the first time there has been a problem, said Keswick’s mayor Paul Titley, who was among the competitors in the 15km run.
“It was a lovely, fine day — until I got three-quarters of the way round and it started to rain and rain and rain,” he said.
“By the time I got back to the park, people running across it had turned up quite a bit of mud, but it is no crime.
“The Derwentwater Trail has been coming here for six years and the bond is the park trustees’ insurance policy, so not all of it will be returned.
“Some people were asking ‘how on earth did you allow it to take place?’, but the trustees had agreed and everyone was reassured by the way it was run in accordance with the Government’s COVID-19 procedures. The rain was just amazing.”
In contrast, he was glad that the funfair’s visit in July and August had not damaged the park’s grassed area between the children’s playground and the multi-purpose sports surface.
“Some people had got rather excited about mud and ruts that might have been caused and about the grass compacting, but our parks manager gave a completely independent report to say there wasn’t a problem — and I am pleased about that. It will put to bed some of those concerns people had,” he said.
The fair came to Keswick at short notice after coronavirus wiped out its summer diary of shows and events, such as the Durham Miners’ Gala, and led to the cancellation of all Keswick’s 2020 festivals.
It featured rides and stalls for adults and children from 11am to 7pm.
Eight park trustees supported its visit, two abstained and two were absent from the vote.
The trust normally charges £500 a week for the venue to be used and constantly needs more money for the upkeep of Fitz Park and Hope Park.