Plan to extend Bellshill Street Fair shelved

Having fun at last year's street fair
Having fun at last year's street fair

Tensions over a plan to extend Bellshill Street Fair to a five-day event have eased after amusements giant M&D’s put the idea on hold.

Representatives of the funfair operator were set for a bumpy ride at the monthly meeting of Bellshill Community Council.

But M&D’s said this week they are not going ahead with a presentation on proposed changes to the May carnival and this year’s event will, as always, run for three
days only.

The community council organises the Street Fair and at a recent meeting some members expressed concern at the impact of closing Main Street for three days. There was also unhappiness at the cost of funfair rides operated by M&D’s.

It was agreed to “look into” a suggestion to move the funfair and stalls to another site, possibly the park and ride area off Hamilton Road.

Members then rejected a request from M&D’s to increase the Street Fair to a five-day event.

Despite this the Strathclyde Park-based company was invited to make a presentation to the February meeting of the community council.

This provoked anger from member John Devlin who accused colleagues sympathetic to M&D’s of trying to push through a “big decision” without seeking the views of town centre traders and the general public.

He was backed by fellow council member Joe Gorman who was unhappy at a suggestion that M&D’s take over the running of the Street Fair. He said: “That would make it a commercial event rather than a community celebration.”

Mr Devlin said there is support in some quarters for Bellshill to replace the Street Fair with a gala day.

He added: “What really angered me was the community council invited M&D’s to give a presentation even though the idea to extend the Street Fair was rejected by members. Where is the democracy?”

Bellshill councillor Harry Curran, who followed the debate at last month’s community council meeting, said any changes to the Street Fair format should happen only after wide consultation.

He said in the meantime M&D’s should respond to traders’ concerns by making sure, where possible, that stalls, rides and barriers are not blocking access to shops and cafes.

Councillor Curran added: “We should be capitalising on the crowds, not seeing access to premises denied.”