Sunderland funfair organisers ditch booze plan – but workers will still be able to drink until 2am

All the fun of the fair... a panoramic view of the giant Northeast Funfair at Herrington Country Park as it begins to take shape.
All the fun of the fair... a panoramic view of the giant Northeast Funfair at Herrington Country Park as it begins to take shape.
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CONTROVERSIAL plans to sell alcohol to the public when the region’s biggest funfair rolls into town this weekend have been dropped.

But permission has been granted to sell booze to fair workers and their families until 2am, on production of a Showmen’s Guild membership card.

Manchester and Bournemouth-based S&D Leisure Europe had originally applied for permission to sell alcohol to the public from noon until 10pm, and then to fairground staff only for another four hours at the site at Herrington Country Park.

But the company has dropped the first part of its application after Northumbria Police objected to it.

A Civic Centre licensing sub-committee meeting scheduled for this morning was dropped after a deal was hammered out between the firm and Sunderland City Council.

S&D Leisure spokesman Stanley Reeves rejected police concerns over crime and disorder.

“We were going to operate a Challenge 25 policy, by which if you can’t prove you are over 25, you won’t get into the bar, never mind get served with a drink,” he told the Echo.

“And we were going to operate a strict two-drink maximum for any member of the public.

“The bar is not like an ordinary mobile bar – this one has interior seating, CCTV and a beer garden.

“We would have had two Security Industry Association guards on duty, and all the drinks would have been supplied in poly-carbon and plastic glasses.”

The bar will still be open to the public during the 11 days of the fair, but only for the sale of soft drinks.

The fair is starting to take shape ahead of Friday’s opening, as our picture shows, and Mr Reeves is predicting it will prove a major success, with a combination of top rides and the perfect venue.

“I am sure this will be a great year, because there is some quality equipment here,” he said.

“And this is a beautiful park, with Penshaw Monument in the background. You just could not get any better.”

This year is the first time the fair has come to Herrington Country Park, and organisers are hoping it proves to be the first of many.

Mr Reeves confirmed S&D would apply for a licence to sell alcohol to the public in the event it is held again.

“If this year is a success, then we would be looking to revisit that application next year and sit down with the safety committee,” he said.

l ln yesterday’s paper we referred to the firm responsible for security on site as Safe Light, it is, in fact, Safe Night.

A council spokesman confirmed a deal had been reached to allow alcohol to be sold to fair workers.