Council considering £8k spend on essential works to allow Kenilworth Carnival funfair at Abbey Fields

By James Smith

2nd Apr 2024 | Local News

Kenilworth Carnival's funfair hopes to move to the other side of Abbey Fields (image by James Smith)
Kenilworth Carnival's funfair hopes to move to the other side of Abbey Fields (image by James Smith)

The district council may spend up to £8,000 to widen the access in Abbey Fields to allow the Kenilworth Carnival funfair to take place this year.

Carnival organisers announced last month a new location had been found for the annual event, after Warwick District Council (WDC) withdrew permission for it to be held on the other side of the park.

Now the event - which is scheduled for June 27 to 29 - will take place on the other side of Abbey Fields, off Forrest Road.

The land, designated as events area five by the council, is already used for the Lions Grand Show.

However, to allow for the carnival to use it, the entrance off Forrest Road needs to be widened and some of the curbs dropped.

In order to pay for this, WDC’s cabinet will next week discuss an £8,000 outlay for the works.

Stalls in Abbey Fields during the 2023 carnival weekend (image by James Smith)

“The gate at the southern end of the site (onto Forrest Road) will need to be widened to be suitable for the larger vehicles and funfair rides to access the site,” a council report said. 

“There may also be a need for minor works to drop a few kerbstones to widen the existing access from the road. 

“Some gravel and subsoil may need to be imported onto the site to ensure that vehicles can safely and easily access and egress the site. 

“There is a slight slope immediately beyond the gate into the site.”

WDC had blamed the growing size of the funfair and the impacts of climate change on the ground in Abbey Fields for withdrawing permission at the end of last year.

Historic England still needs to give approval for the relocation, after other sites around the town were discounted by carnival organisers.

The report also says the work will have a wider benefit beyond the 2024 carnival.

“The investment in improving area five as an events space will allow the council to positively consider other events on this land,” it said. 

“As these events will generate a fee, this will help support and sustain our existing services of supporting events across the district.”

Hundreds of residents lined the streets to see the carnival parade last summer (image by James Smith)

At the same meeting, cabinet will also discuss the fees for the carnival, which it says have not been paid in the past for “reasons of history and convention”.

But WDC is considering “to regularise this situation by requiring the carnival committee to pay this fee going forward”.

If councillors decide to do this, the local authority will give the carnival a £2,000 grant to cover this year’s fees.

It is also proposed Bob Wilson’s Funfair, which runs the carnival funfair, will also provide a £1,200 bond which would be used to repair the land if it is damaged during the four-day event.

WDC’s cabinet will discuss the carnival on Wednesday 10 April.

However, as well as waiting on final sign off from Historic England, the carnival committee is also still in desperate need to raise funds for the 2024 instalment.

The carnival procession is still due to meet on Forrest Road (image via SWNS)

"We still need to raise money for the event," carnival chair Anne Brough explained to Nub News last month. 

"We need to raise around £7,000. Kenilworth Town Council has given us a grant, and Warwick District Council has told us to apply for one. 

"But we need Kenilworth companies and businesses to come on board and sponsor a float, the carnival king and queen and so on. We need people to come forward and help."

Contact [email protected] if you can help.

See the full council report here.

     

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