Amidst fears of a re-run of last year’s anti-social behaviour over the weekend when Midsummer Fair would normally have taken place, local councillor Jamie Dalzell has called for decisive action to safeguard local residents.
The fair, which would have taken place over the weekend of 26th and 27th June, has been cancelled for a second year in succession because of the pandemic. But last year the cancellation did not prevent an unofficial mass gathering which encroached on homes and gardens in the De Freville area, leaving litter and other detritus both there and on the public open spaces themselves and surrounding roads, with residents feeling threatened and witnessing criminal activity. The Police and council were criticised for lack of preparedness and responsiveness.
Cllr Dalzell, who represents West Chesterton for the Lib Dems, has been working with local residents to try and prevent problems in 2020 happening again this year, but is concerned by the lack of response from the council and police:
"We have been reassured that the community police team will be much better prepared this year, with substantial additional resources available to respond if we see a repeat of the problems so unfortunately witnessed last year. If so, that is good.
"However, the response so far has been very limited; the provision of additional portaloos on the park for the weekend would be welcome but it does not address all of the problems that were experienced by people living on Aylestone Road, Pretoria Road and the rest of the De Freville area last year."
"In years when Midsummer Fair officially takes place, the Fort St George Bridge is closed for the event - and this has served to significantly reduce problems for our community. Last year’s experience shows this is still necessary even when the fair gets cancelled. The minor inconvenience for one weekend needs setting against last year’s violence and vandalism for which the police and council have a duty of care to the people of West Chesterton.”
"It has been very disappointing to receive no response for request to meet with key officers to at least discuss this option and confirm with police whether they think this is necessary".