Hull Fair could open on a Sunday but only if local residents are on board, Hull’s council leader has said.
There have been calls by the Showmen’s Guild to open on the middle Sunday for the first time in the fair’s 800-year history.
Those calls were brought into sharp focus again this year after Saturday proved to be one of the busiest days in the fair’s recent history.
The sheer numbers left people trapped in the crowds and unable to move with many fairgoers questioning why the fair could not open on a Sunday. Read more about that here.
Hull City Council leader Councillor Stephen Brady says he has no “fundamental” opposition to a Sunday opening but does not want to push the goodwill of local residents.
He said: “We are meeting with the Showmen’s Guild over the next week or so and I will be more than happy to talk about this issue.
“We have said in the past that whatever happens, it would need residents’ support.
“Recent surveys we have carried out show residents are not in favour as it stands.
“The one thing we want to do is protect the local neighbourhood and give them a quiet day in between.
“Residents have been very good. They understand the history of the fair and accept it but we don’t want to push it and end up with a negative reaction.”
After Saturday’s crowds, fairgoers claimed the showground should be open for the full nine days without a break.
Crowds of people jammed into Walton Street and the fairground itself, forcing police to divert visitors through West Park.
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One person reported getting “crushed” and another described seeing “lots of frightened children” amid long delays passing the stalls in Walton Street. Read what happened in full here.
A third penned a letter to Hull Live describing the “gridlock” and also calling for Hull City Council to consider allowing it to happen.
Watch: Hull Fair view from the big wheel
Part of it read: “Between six and seven o’clock, the crush of people entering, leaving, mainly entering, brought the street to a standstill. It wasn’t as bad as the previous year, in my opinion, but we were gridlocked for some time.
“Obviously this time seems to a favourite for people to arrive. Children around us were crying. It is a little worrying when you’re literally shoulder-to-shoulder with some people trying to push there way through.
“I would dread to think of any serious situation happening within this time.
“Saturday is obviously fair’s busiest day. People like myself whom work midweek aren’t able to visit fair Monday to Friday so Saturday is really the only option.
“I would even ask the council to reconsider Sundays, like Goose Fair has, which I believe has a shorter day but then gives so many of us that option of another weekend day.
“I would probably have gone on the Sunday rather than the madness of Saturday.”
The Showmen’s Guild has long sought for the fair to be open on a Sunday.
Yorkshire president Garry Leach says he is petitioning the council to get permission for a Sunday opening next year.
He said: “The Showmen’s Guild is 100 per cent behind opening Hull Fair on Sunday.
“We think it would make the fair better and Saturday night has shown that the success of the fair is leading to problems, with people reporting being crushed and kids crying after having to wait for hours to get on a ride.
“Hull Fair is a major attraction so it’s just common sense that it should be open for the full weekend for families from not just Hull, but all over to get here.
“I’m writing a letter to the leader of the council to push for the Sunday opening.
“We want to entice the families on the Sunday and make it a family day, it’s a complete no-brainer that it would be a success.
“The Goose Fair in Nottingham had the same problems with being too busy on the Saturday, but as soon as they opened on Sunday all those problems went away.
Hull Live readers have certainly backed opening on a Sunday with our poll showing a huge majority in favour of the move.
Mr Leach even outlined how the fair would work on the Sunday.
He said: “We propose that the Sunday opening time should be at 2pm, closing early at 8pm so that the kids can make it home to get ready for school the next day in good time.
“We have conducted polls before about the idea of opening on a Sunday and we received a lot of support from people in Hull about the idea who agreed and thought it should be done.
“It’s not like we are expecting it for free either. We know that there will be a cost involved but we could pay and have even drawn up a plan of the extra revenue that we would have to pay for it.
“Everything is in place on our side for the Sunday opening, but there just seems one or two people against it on the side of the council.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Brady has responded to the accident at Hull Fair on Monday when a woman was seriously hurt after being thrown from a ride.
The woman has suffered multiple injuries after being flung from the AirMaxx 360 just minutes after the ride started going. It had climbed about half way when the woman fell.
Her injuries are serious but not thought to be life-changing. Benjamin Corran, 16, also suffered minor injuries after he was struck by the woman.
Cllr Brady said: “Of course we wish the woman a rapid and full recovery.
“The council always has health and safety at the forefront but unfortunately this accident occurred.
“The key thing now is that lessons are learnt to we can minimise the risk of something like this ever happening again.
“It is now in the hands of the Health and Safety Executive who will no doubt speak to the operator and those involved to find out exactly what happened.”
Click here for everything you need to know about Hull Fair 2019 including opening times, rides, prices, buses and parking.
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