Not everyone was happy when the circus came to town

Councillors Bob Francis, George Howe and John Wiper have recieved complaints from residents about Planet Circus setting up on Recreation Park at Seaburn.

Councillors Bob Francis, George Howe and John Wiper have recieved complaints from residents about Planet Circus setting up on Recreation Park at Seaburn.

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A CIRCUS master has defended his show’s move to a new site after community leaders raised concerns about parking pests.

Planet Circus had been due to set up on the former fairground site on Seaburn seafront this week but changed venue to the Recreation Park nearby when organisers decided the grassed area would be better.

The change, made with the support of Sunderland City Council, led to anger among residents living near the field, councillors and businesses who say they already struggle to park and are concerned about the noise generated by the circus.

They have also said the event should have been staged somewhere with a car park, with the funfair site or field next to Morrisons better suited because they are empty.

Others have argued the park should be used for such events, with previous circuses causing no problems.

But Mark Whitney, who is in charge of the circus, said it had gone to great lengths to ensure residents are happy.

He said: “We have had lengthy discussions with Sunderland City Council regarding appearing at either site and have done everything that the council has wanted in order for us to open at the site, from signposts to the car parking area at Leisure World, to speaking to the local community, to offering two free tickets to each house that is within the area of where the circus is.

“Our show includes gold medal-winning acts from the Monte Carlo Circus Festival, the most prestigious circus festival in the world, and we are extremely proud of what we do and how we run our business.

“We are one of the oldest and most regarded travelling circus families in the country, and it is only our intention to bring a world-class show to the area.”

He also said none of those who have raised fears have been in contact to discuss issues, while the council say it would take action against breaches of parking rules.

The circus, billed as “probably the best show on earth” began its run on Wednesday and will be held twice daily until Sunday, except for Monday, when there will be show performances.