Circus told it can't have its Barnstaple site
CIRCUS boss Kenny Darnell has been told he can t bring his show to the centre of Barnstaple this year because the Seven Brethren site he normally uses has been designated for travellers. The first of the travelling families moved onto the site, next to t
CIRCUS boss Kenny Darnell has been told he can't bring his show to the centre of Barnstaple this year because the Seven Brethren site he normally uses has been designated for travellers.
The first of the travelling families moved onto the site, next to the car park by the leisure centre, on Monday.
Mr Darnell wanted to bring his Paulo's Circus Americano to Barnstaple at the end of May as he has done for three years.
But his hopes were dashed by a phone call from North Devon Council this week in which he was told the site was not available.
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"They told me it was being used by travellers and we can't have it," Mr Darnell said.
"This is a big blow for us. We have brought live enter-tainment to Barnstaple for three years in a row and we pay a considerable sum of money in rent to the council. I wonder if the travellers are paying any rent?
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"We were due to visit Barnstaple with a whole new show from May 24-31, which is half-term week.
"We are in Victoria Park, Bideford, the week before but we may not be able to come to Barnstaple unless we can find another suitable site."
Peter Woodley, North Devon Council's asset manager, told the Gazette: "In line with Government policy, Seven Brethren has been allocated as a tolerance zone for travellers until a more permanent and suitable solution is found.
"While the council is committed to longstanding traditional events such as the annual Barnstaple Fair, we cannot guarantee that the site will be available at other times.
"Because of this uncertainty, it wouldn't be responsible or reasonable to expect people to make plans and commit investment that could be overturned at the last minute."
Mr Woodley said the tolerance zone policy was approved by the council's executive in 2008.
"This originally tried to accommodate events such as the circus, but from practical experience, this has proved difficult to co-ordinate," he said.
A council spokesman said the travellers were aware of Barnstaple Fair and always left the site of their own accord before its arrival.
n Landowners who could offer the circus a suitable site in or around Barnstaple should contact Paulo's on 07961994910.