Horse fair returns to site near Northampton this weekend
Last year's event went ahead amid huge concerns from locals over Covid breaches
A weekend-long horse fair that controversially went ahead amid Covid concerns last year will return to Northampton on Friday (July 23).
DJ Lady and QD's Horse Fair is held on land between Northampton and Wellingborough promising food, stalls, a beer tent, disco and a hog roast.
Last year's event on the same land, next to Hardwater Road, near Great Doddington when stricter Covid restrictions were in force, bringing criticism from residents and politicians.
Videos shared on social media showed hundreds of revellers crammed into a marquee with no face coverings or social distancing in what was described as a 'hell of a party'.
But Northamptonshire Police revealed they received fewer calls than normal while last year's event was on and that there was no higher crime rate in the area
Superintendent Adam Ward said: "The hit rate in relation to our social media was very, very high but most of that social media was directed towards discriminatory comments towards travellers as opposed to concerns about Covid."
A briefing note sent to local council members told them that "50 to 60 caravans and approximately 150 people" are expected to attend the 2021 fair.
The document states: "A Temporary Event Notice has been applied for to cover licensable activities at the site and there are no other significant concerns arising from the event plans.
"Officers will continue to liaise with the organiser up to, and over the weekend of the event.
"Whilst there may be public concern raised in advance of the event, we can confirm that last year’s event took place with no significant issues arising."
It has been described as a privately organised event for the travelling community, with majority of guests arriving on site on Friday leaving on Monday.
North Northamptonshire Council officers have been liaising with the event organiser and supporting them to ensure the event is compliant with all safety and legal obligations.
A multi-agency Safety Advisory Group meeting was also held on July 9 with all key partner agencies - Police, Fire, Ambulance, Joint Operations Team, Emergency Planning and NNC officers in attendance to discuss the event plans.
In another briefing, NNC officers reassured local representatives about security, litter and horses on the public roads.
They have liaised with Wellingborough Norse and asked that they review all security measures in place at open spaces and parks in advance of the event.
Nearby Summer Leys Nature Reserve managed by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire WildlifeTrust will be secured.
The event organiser has previously confirmed that there are no plans for trotting and racing on the public highway and events will be confined to the site.
A Temporary Event Notice (TEN) for the event — to allow a 'licensable activity' on unlicensed premises — covers the total number of attendees expected for the event.
Organisers have said that they are aware of the requirement for secure storage and disposal of all waste generated by the event with Wellingborough Norse on hand to deal with any potential littering or build up of rubbish on or near the site.
Northants Police confirmed last year's event passed off without incident despite fears of disorder at a meeting in September, minutes of which were released after a Freedom of Information request.
Superintendent Adam Ward reported Northamptonshire Police control room received fewer calls than usual but the 'hit rate in relation to the Force social media was "very, very high" adding that "most of that social media was directed towards discriminatory comments towards travellers as opposed to concerns about Covid."