Fair will not visit Overton following council U-turn

Basingstoke Gazette: Fair will not visit Overton following council U-turn Fair will not visit Overton following council U-turn

THE organiser of a funfair is set for disappointment after a parish council backtracked on its decision to allow his business to return to the village.

As reported in The Gazette last August, Overton Parish Council agreed to allow Joe Stokes to bring Stokes Fun Fair to Overton on a trial basis, for four days this year.

Councillors had deliberated for months over the decision after Mr Stokes was banned from setting up the fair in Sapley Lane playing fields nine years ago, following complaints about noise.

A majority of six to four councillors voted in favour of allowing the fair to return to the village, with various conditions imposed.

Councillors had also asked villagers for their views, and around 30 to 40 people at an AGM had voted in favour of the fair returning, which was almost all those present.

But councillors have now done a U-turn at their latest full council meeting. Mr Stokes, who was expecting to bring his rides to Overton in May, will be informed of the change of plan by letter.

Councillors had been looking at options to find an alternative site for the fair, to combat concerns raised by elderly residents living in Sapley Lane. But nothing had been found.

Overton borough councillor Ian Tilbury said: “This council agreed to bring the fun fair back to Sapley Lane playing field. If you start moving it up to the other end of the village it will annoy them.” He added: “Who’s going to police all this?”

Cllr Brian Langer agreed that there were issues surrounding policing the event, after Overton lost its beat officer, PC Richard Badwin, who has been sent to cover Highclere and Burghclere.

He said: “I voted against it last time for various reasons, but I feel that we can’t ignore the fact that we aren’t going to have any police cover.”

Cllr Lucy Sloane Williams proposed that councillors should reconsider their original decision. Members then voted unanimously for the funfair not to return to Overton, on the grounds that the village no longer has a full-time police officer.

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