Anger as controversial horsefair moves to new site

The annual Horse Fair and parade at Horden.
The annual Horse Fair and parade at Horden.
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A CONTROVERSIAL gathering of travellers has sparked concerns after relocating for this weekend’s festival.

The East Coast Horse Fair, held in Horden in the past after visits to Seaham and Easington Colliery, is expected to be staged on the former pit site at Blackhall. Caravans started to arrive on the Durham County Council-owned land next to the Hackworth Road Industrial Estate earlier this week, despite reinforced gates installed to stop them.

Blackhall councillor Rob Crute

Blackhall councillor Rob Crute

The annual parade is expected to take place at about noon on Monday, however the route is not known by the authorities.

Last year, the horse fair cost taxpayers almost £6,000 in clean-up costs and opponents have campaigned to prevent it being held.

Blackhall county councillor Rob Crute said: “We’ve had a lot of complaints by residents and we have been trying as best we can to stop it going ahead.

“Many have been upset about how it has been handled by the police and the council.

The annual Horse Fair and parade at Horden.

The annual Horse Fair and parade at Horden.

“The people of Blackhall don’t understand why nobody challenges them.”

There are also concerns the site is contaminated, Coun Crute added, while emergency access to the nearby railway tracks is likely to be blocked.

A joint statement, issued by the council and police, said: “Durham County Council and Durham Constabulary have not organised or authorised an event of this nature in East Durham.

“However, we are aware of a number of community concerns.As such, we will continue to closely monitor the situation and to respond as necessary.

“The community can be reassured that any appropriate action will be taken to minimise the impact such an event would have in their area.”