Enough is enough: Action call after horse event damage

Police chiefs have promised to wade in and take control to stop Kenilworth descending into chaos ever again after the ‘worst horse fair’ in memory.

Hundreds of visitors jammed into the town over the weekend for the annual spring horse fair at Thickthorn.

But with the huge influx of visitors and minimal traffic management, the town was left gridlocked with cars being abandoned and parked on grass verges and residents complaining in droves of the worst problems in years.

As a result of floods of complaints to police, MP Jeremy Wright and councillors, police crime commissioner Ron Ball has promised that the “unacceptable problems” will not be tolerated any longer.

Mr Ball will now meet with Chief Constable Andy Parker, councillors and the county council’s gypsy and travellers officer for action ahead of the next scheduled event in July.

He said: “As a first step I propose to meet with the landowner and the organiser of these events to make sure that they understand their responsibilities and to make an assessment if they intend to honour those responsibilities.

“I am a great believer in ‘live and let live’. That philosophy does require event organisers to recognise their responsibilities and to honour them.”

Cllr Dave Shilton (Con, Parkhill) said that they must also demand organisers cover the thousands of pounds spent by the council in a huge two-day clean up operation.

“My team was out working tirelessly to clean the area up - filling in potholes, picking up huge amounts of litter and even clearing hay outside a public house,” he said.

“We cleared two lorry loads of rubbish and undertook repairs. It is unacceptable for taxpayers to be footing the bill given that this is a profit-making event for organisers.

“We need to take action and clamp down on this. We have said it before and so we need to get it right this time.”

Reports of abusive behaviour and intimidation to residents will be addressed.

Cllr Cockburn (Con, St Johns), described the weekend as scenes of chaos with traffic marshals “admitting they had lost control” and residents being “intimidated and threatened” on their doorsteps by visitors parking across their gardens.

Kenilworth SNT insisted that there was “no increase in crime and disorder” over the weekend and that all issues were directly related to traffic management - which is no longer a police responsibility.