Appleby Horse Fair: Locals urged to have their say on issues

As the annual Appleby Horse Fair fast approaches, residents in the Eden area are encouraged to speak up about any issues that come up during the fair and its build-up.

The fair, which starts on June 9 – a week later than normal due to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – will see hundreds of people descend on Appleby for the annual event. About 60 people attended a pre-fair meeting in the town recently, and Cumbria Police are urging people to make the most of the resources available and speak out if they have any problems.

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. This proved to be a success last year with between 75% and 95% of calls being dealt with in five minutes or less.

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As well as the non-emergency number, Cumbria Police have reporting options available on their website. Superintendent Matthew Kennerley, who is in charge of policing Appleby Horse Fair, is encouraging people to give their feedback to any of the officers patrolling the town this year.

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He said: “Our ask to the community is that you speak to officers if any issues arise. 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 Friday (June 3) and there will be drop-in sessions for residents in Kirkby Lonsdale and Sedbergh running 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 is 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.”

This year, a number of licensed premises in the town have taken the decision to not open. A full list is available 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 to 11, 2023. A meeting will be held after this year’s gathering to ensure residents can air their views to the agencies involved.

Lancs Live – Cumbria