New council rules will stop the annual week-long summer and Christmas funfairs in
Stornoway it has been warned.
The recently introduced policy to manage civic areas within Stornoway has stopped
the fair setting up in its usual stance.
Comhairle rules introduced at the beginning of this month ban using taking space
in South Beach and North Beach carparks out of use. An exception is for single day
events but only at the discretion of the Comhairle chiefs.
The organisers of the funfair told Hebrides News that the changes discriminate against
the show rides and they cannot afford the huge expense of coming to the island just
for one day.
They say they need the normal Tuesday to Saturday night period on carnival week to
pay back their expenses of trucking equipment and generators to the island.
The fair would have been axed this week if the effect of the new policy had been
known before half the rides arrived they point out. As it is, South Beach carpark
is closed anyway for carnival day so the fair is allowed to use that booking.
But some attractions will be missing from the scaled down event including the popular
Waltzers and Miami rides. Their operators have cancelled their trip because they
will not be able to recover their outlay on just one day.
The fair also donated £1500 to the carnival for prize money for local floats and
workers stayed in a town guesthouse for its duration.
Damion Bateman who runs the Meteorite ride only found out about the impact of the
problem when he came up last week after forking out over £3000 in ferry, fuel and
He said: “This is a big blow. I will be out of pocket over this and in the present
economic climate nobody likes to be losing money.”
He said that he would have to stay for the Saturday and try and salvage something
out of an expensive trip.
He warned this would be the last time the fair could come. He said: “There is certainly
no way we can afford to bring rides over just for one day.”
He said that the same obstacles would affect the Christmas fair. He said: “There
will not be any fairs coming up here because of this.”
The Stornoway summer funfair was managed by Charles MacIntyre for the past six years
until his death at the end of last year. His sister Lynette who has taken over its
Ms MacIntyre said: We only use a third of the carpark and it is still open to vehicles
using the normal access and exits.
She suggested the council review its policy and seek an alternative to cancelling
Stornoway Port Authority offered the site of the demolished Stornoway Shellfish building
but the organisers say it is too small, and the lack of a tarmac surface makes it
uneven ground, unsuitable for wheelchairs and pushbuggies. Neither is there any proper
barrier with the neighbouring bus station.
The Stornoway Amenity Trust believed the Stornoway Shellfish ground was suitable
and the fairground applied for a licence until a site visit revealed it wouldn’t
work. Other sites at the edge of town are too far away and would not attract sufficient
people say the organisers.
They suggest the council could designate the Stornoway Shellfish site as temporary
car parking until the end of the week and allow them to set up in their usual corner
by the old weighbridge.
A Comhairle spokesman said: “Due to high demands on parking within Stornoway Town
Centre, it has been agreed by the Comhairle that the car parks on South Beach and
North Beach are not to be taken out of use, other than for single day events, and
that being at the discretion of the Comhairle as devolved to the Director of Technical
“The policy was established in order for the car parks, streets and amenity areas
within the Stornoway Town Centre to be managed effectively, taking into account the
needs and desires of the general public.”
He explained: “A licence application for the fair was made on 23 July 12, for the
fair to be located at the old Stornoway Shellfish site in Stornoway.
“This application was in the process of being dealt with when representatives from
the fair visited the Technical Services Department on Tuesday, with a request that
they get the use of the South Beach St Car Park, as their proposed location was unsuitable.
It was explained that it was outwith our authority to grant this request.
“We have managed to work with the fair and have allowed them to use South Beach St
Car Park alongside the Round Table for the duration of the car park closure which
was previously organised for the purposes of the carnival.”
Council rules threaten to cancel Stornoway funfair 29/7/12