County councillor describes travellers due to arrive for Notts horsefair as 'biblical plague'

Councillor Philip Owen (inset) and the Nottingham Horse Fair.
Councillor Philip Owen (inset) and the Nottingham Horse Fair.

A Conservative councillor has likened a group of travellers heading to a planned horsefair as a ‘biblical plague’.

From July 25, travellers will head to next to Junction 26 of the M1, in Nuthall after an event was previously held there in April.

But Conservative councillor Philip Owen, who represents Nuthall and Kimberley said the event is being ‘imposed’ on the local community.

He brought the event up as a ‘constituency issue’ at a Nottinghamshire County Council meeting today, Thursday, July 11.

He said: “In just over a fortnight’s time there will be a cloud of fear descending over Nuthall.

“It’s highly likely that shops will be closed, there will be some people who are not prepared to leave their homes.”

At this point, Councillor Stephen Carr, who represents Bramcote and Beeston North for the Liberal Democrats and is also the deputy leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, stormed out of the speech, calling it ‘disgusting’ and saying ‘I’m not listening to this.’

Once he had left, Councillor Owen continued: “Schools, fortunately will be on holiday, pets in some cases will be kept under close observation.

“Because we are about to be descended on like the proverbial biblical plague by a horsefair, which is not welcome and not wanted.

“It is being imposed on the local community in Nuthall.

“We had to endure one of these several weeks ago, and fortunately it rained most of the time, and nowhere near as many turned up as was anticipated.

“But now, moving into the season of better weather, there are expected to be five to 10 thousand people turning up over a five day period.

“It appears there is not a thing that we as a local authority, and I was going to say that Broxtowe Borough Council could do either, but you can see from the reaction of the deputy leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, they wouldn’t want to do anything about it on behalf of the residents of Nuthall.

“We have no powers, and of course you turn to the police, they don’t turn one blind eye to it, they turn two blind eyes to it.

“People are afraid to report any incidents, and that is what the people of Nuthall are going to live under, and I think that is grotesquely unfair.”

The last event, held in April, passed off largely without incident, and organisers said they had left the site ‘spotless’.

Several local residents said they were ‘pleasantly surprised’ by the event.