USING its powers under Covid-19 regulations, Gloucestershire County Counil will be blocking the planned Stow Horse Fair from going ahead next week.

On Monday, the county council and Gloucestershire Police jointly served the landowner with a ‘notice of concern’, which gave them 48 hours to address concerns the county council, police and Cotswold District Council had.

As no further steps have been taken to make the event Covid secure, the landowner now understands the fair will not go ahead this year.

Cotswold District Council, the county council, police and the county’s traveller liaison service have been working together for the past few weeks on applying the brand new Covid legislation to make sure that all necessary information and evidence has been gathered before legal action was taken.

Officers have also carefully considered the rights and views of the travellers, the local community and the landowner when making their decision.

Sarah Scott, Director of Public Health for Gloucestershire, said: “We are working hard to tackle Covid-19 – and that does mean some difficult decisions.

"I know how important this event is to the traveller community - I can assure them this decision has not been taken lightly.

"With Covid infection rates rising locally and nationally, it is the right decision, to protect both families attending the event and the wider community.

“I know colleagues have spoken to members of the traveller community and that their response to the concerns we have raised has been really welcomed – disappointed but completely understanding of the need to act in the public interest.”

GCC, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson said: “I am pleased that Gloucestershire County Council has come to this conclusion at last, however a decision should have been made weeks ago rather than being left to the last minute.   Lib Dem councillors have been calling for steps to be taken for a long time and many travellers will have started to make their way to Stow-on-the-Wold already, only to be told to turn around. 

“This is the right decision for everyone involved, but it comes too late for local businesses and much of the travelling community, while many residents have been left worried about the risks of the Fair for too long.  I hope Gloucestershire County Council learns from this mistake and doesn’t leave decisions like this to the last minute in the future.”