Eden residents are being urged to speak up about any issues that arise during this year’s Appleby Horse Fair and its build-up.
The fair will start on Thursday, June 9 this year, a week later than normal so as not to overlap with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Around 60 people attended a pre-fair meeting in Appleby recently and Cumbria Police used the event to urge people to make the most of the various channels open to them to report any concerns.
There is an option dedicated to Appleby as part of Cumbria police’s non-emergency 101 number service which also has a call-back facility to ensure concerns can be addressed without long waits.
Between 75 and 95 percent of calls to the line were dealt with in less than five minutes during last year’s fair.
There are also online reporting options available on the Cumbria Police website and Superintendent Matthew Kennerley, who is in charge of policing Appleby Horse Fair, would also welcome people giving feedback to any of the 100 police officers who will be working around the town this year.
“Our ask to the community is that you speak to officers if any issues arise,” he said.
“All patrols across the region are now increasing in the run-up to the fair. A dedicated phone line through 101 has been set up, we have a call-back option and online reporting to help keep waiting times to a minimum.”
Daily Community Advisory Group meetings will also be held in Appleby from June 3 and there are drop-in sessions for residents in Kirkby Lonsdale and Sedbergh running from May 31 until June 18.
Les Clark, chairman of the Multi-Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group for Appleby Horse Fair, said: “As usual MACSG have reinforced the usual ’Do not come early’ message in respect of the jubilee celebrations taking place across the area. MASCG have also put some operational changes in place, based on the experience from last year’s fair.
“This includes the number and type of toilet provisions to increase capacity and accommodate more people.
“In addition, MASCG are considering extending the closure of The Sands later into the evening on some days; details will be confirmed soon.
“We have also consulted on changes to the Traffic Regulation Order and have formalised the arrangements that have been in place for the last two fairs including the 40mph speed limit along the A685 between Appleby Road and Brough.”
Another feature of this year’s fair is the reduced number of licensed premises that have decided to open.
A list is being kept updated on the Appleby Horse Fair website.
Billy Welch, known as the Shera Rom or Head Gypsy, has been involved with the fair all his life, and has repeated his call for the travelling community to avoid arriving early.
He said: “The Gypsy and traveller community are looking forward to the fair as we always do.
“We have asked people to stay away until Fair Week, and we are pleased to hear police reports confirming that so far there are no issues with early arrivals.
“We are aware that several of the pubs and temporary stopping places will be closed this year, and we are grateful to the public agencies for their support in planning for the effects of these closures.
“The shift of the dates for this year’s fair has helped avoid any clash with the Platinum Jubilee, and we know that many Gypsies and travellers have great affection for the Queen, and we will be celebrating that event like everyone else.”
The dates of next year’s Appleby Horse Fair have been confirmed as June 8-11 2023.
A meeting will be held after this year’s gathering to ensure residents can air their views to the agencies involved.
For full details about Community Advisory Meetings and other information around the fair check the Appleby Horse Fair website at www.applebyfair.org