Villagers and business owners close to Wellingborough horse fair preparing for weekend event
The Horse Fair will go ahead
Businesses, landowners and residents living in and around the site of an unlicensed Bank Holiday horse fair close to Wellingborough are preparing for the weekend.
Gateways to fields have been blocked with trees, straw bales, concrete blocks and piles of manure to prevent trespassers using the land.
Shops, pubs, clubs and village amenities in Wollaston and Great Doddington have announced that they will close over the Bank Holiday period.
A Great Doddington resident who was installing a security gate said: "I don't think anything is going to happen. I was going to do this job anyway, it's just given me an incentive.
"I think people are scared. I am worried. We don't know what's going to happen.
"I know people who own horses around here have already been approached. People are sleeping out in their stables and putting security on them.
"It's the inconvenience. This year might be fine. Next year it will be twice as big. The year after that twice as big again. There could be 10,000 people."
The advertised venue of the horse fair in Hardwater Road, between Wollaston and Great Doddington, is on a field close to Summer Leys Nature Reserve - one horse box and four caravans are currently on site.
Martin Griffiths, leader of Wellingborough Council, said: "The only people who can prevent this from happening is the police and Public Health.
"I share the residents' concerns. The organisers have confirmed it is happening. The latest we have heard that it is friends and family.
"We haven't got the powers as a borough council to stop it. It should be licensed especially if they have a bar."
Businesses that have confirmed they are closing are: Great Doddington Club and Solo Hair Design in Great Doddington and in Wollaston The Wollaston Inn, The Hill Bar, Whibbleys News Food and Wine, Wollaston Courtyard and Creations hair salon.
Animals In Need in Little Irchester will be closed throughout the weekend.
Sywell Aerodrome announced that the airfield would also close.
A statement released said: "We have learnt of a proposed horse fair being held in the locality over the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend. It has reported that thousands of Travellers have and will be descending on the local area and will be descending on the local area, particularly in Wellingborough.
"This presents a significant security risk to the aerodrome as a whole. Therefore Sywell Aerodrome has closed the general public car park until next week.
"The outdoor cinema events and all the car meets at the weekend have been cancelled.
"All security gates will remain closed over the weekend including Bank Holiday Monday.
"We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."
Luna Flix outdoor cinemas was to host a six-day screening at the aerodrome but have had to cancel the event.
Business owner Simon Hopkins said: "It's a shock and couldn't have happened in a worse year already. We are already reeling from the repercussions of the original cancelled season.
"It was Sywell's decision but we understand and support their position, they are equally hurt by it.
"It's a big loss to cancel the 'residency' and I'm saddened to disappoint our customers at such short notice. We are hoping to create a new event either later this year - indoors - or back in the open air in 2021.
"You couldn't print how I truly sum up 2020, though in mild terms, the year from hell is about right - much like the Queen's famous 'annus horribilis'."
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