Venue: Virtual Meeting Room via Zoom. View directions
Contact: Town Clerk
Apologies for Absence
An apology for her absence was received from Cllr Bolger.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest in matters to be discussed at the meeting.
Having declared an interest previously on the matter to be considered, the Chair asked Cllr Temple if he should declare an interest. Cllr Temple declined to declared an interest.
The meeting adjourned for this item to allow the public present to address the Council.
Mr Wilson, Proprietor of Wilson’s Funfairs, addressed the Council on the subject of why he believed the annual Witney Feast fair should go ahead.
Emily Danter, Safety Officer for Wilson’s Funfairs, addressed the Council on the same subject.
John Thurston, Head of Safety of The Showmen’s Guild addressed the Council on the same subject.
Following the public participation, the Council reconvened.
Witney Feast - 14/15 September 2020
Deferred from the Council meeting held on 27 July 2020 – minute number 230 refers.
To consider the information gathered by Officers as outlined in the resolution under minute 230 (report to follow) and in light of the Event Management Plan/supporting documents submitted by the Fair Operator and Showman’s Guild in respect of the Witney Feast Fun Fair going ahead on 14/15 September 2020.
The Council will need to make a decision on whether permission is given for Bob Wilson Funfairs to hold Witney Feast – making clear its expectations as the landowner.
The Council received and considered the report of the Town Clerk, which detailed the advice she and other officers had received from other stakeholders at a meeting including Fire and Rescue Service, Emergency Planning, Public Health, and Thames Valley Police.
The Town Clerk explained that she had requested a SAG (Safety Advisory Group) meeting, which would have afforded Mr Wilson the chance to participate, but this had been turned down twice by West Oxfordshire District Council. She had therefore arranged an alternative meeting with stakeholders who had all reviewed the paperwork submitted by Wilson’s Funfairs and had subsequently produced the report that had been circulated to members.
A member asked why the District Council would not call a SAG meeting and the Town Clerk replied that the officers had not thought it necessary.
A member commented that the Town Clerk had spoken to all of the consultees that she had been asked to speak to and they had all said no to the fair going ahead. A lot of local residents had expressed concern to him that if there was an increase in Covid Cases it could lead to a local lockdown, which could in turn lead to job losses. He thought it was better to be safe than sorry after the event and he thanked the Officers for their hard work. He was happy to support the Officers recommendations.
Another member stated that the Town Clerk had not said that everyone she had engaged with had responded or that everyone she had contacted had said no to the fair. He thanked the Town Clerk for her work but thought that everyone should discuss the report and have a say before thinking about recommendations. He felt that the feast was spread out and less people than normal would attend so there would be no issues with social distancing.
A member asked if the deadline for submission of risk assessments had been met. The Compliance and Environment Officer confirmed that it was the 12th August but paperwork had continued to arrive after that date.
Another member felt that the recommendation in the report was very strong and she did feel that the confidence of Officers was important. She understood that a revised risk assessment had been submitted and asked if that changed anything in terms of Officers’ recommendations.
The Operations and Estates Officer advised that Officers had looked at what had been submitted earlier that day and whilst it was a lot better, there were still areas that needed work on. The other stakeholders who the Officers had worked with the previous week on this had been clear that there was no longer enough time for them to do the relevant work around the updated documents.
A member asked which events on The Leys had been cancelled on due to Covid-19. He added that on Friday the number of new infections recorded nationally was the highest in 2 months. In response the Town Clerk advised that the May Fair had ... view the full minutes text for item 247.