To assist members who embark upon planning applications, the Guild have set a designated Planning Committee, who have issued
a brochure entitled “Model Standard Package”, which contains useful information in the process of preparing planning applications.
The Guild has also set up other designated committees in specific fields to help its members they are the Promotions Committee, the Insurance Committee and the Education Committee, all members of these committees are elected annually by the Guild’s Central Council. Equally important is the safeguarding of fairgrounds. Again, redevelopment schemes have taken their toll of sites, particularly in town centres, where fairs have been held for several centuries.
Their loss, especially where no alternative is offered, is unfortunate in several respects: the town loses part of its heritage, local people are denied the continuing opportunity of an essentially popular form of entertainment and the showman loses part of his livelihood.
In environmental terms, fairgrounds merit the same attention as conservation areas or public amenities such as open spaces.
They represent an important element in the history of towns throughout the land as well as providing a unique and valuable form of recreation. Indeed a recent report commissioned by the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions on travelling fairs concluded that travelling fairs can give immense pleasure and that it would be a foolish local authority which does not do all it can to encourage the staging of travelling fairs.
The report further concluded the travelling funfair industry is immensely valuable in economic, social and historical terms.
Model Layout plan info
The provision of winter quarters and the loss of fairgrounds are of constant concern to the Guild. When the travelling season is over, the showman needs a permanent base where he and his family can spend the winter months. Ideally it should be within reach of schools and shops, and be large enough to enable him to carry out the vital maintenance work on his equipment.
This need has been recognised by some local authorities, who have shown considerable understanding in the matter. Parliament, too, has been sympathetic and granted the Guild exemption from the licensing provisions of the 1960 Caravan Site Act. However, many established winter quarters have been lost in recent years because of redevelopment schemes.
In too few cases have adequate plans been made for their replacement. In many the displaced showman has been treated with indifference and insensitivity. A home is of vital importance to everyone – including the showman. He seeked neither charity nor favouritism – he asks only that he be accorded the same consideration as any other member of the community.