Looking forward to a safe and enjoyable fair

Date: Monday 11th February 2019

I AM writing following my appointment to the Appleby horse fair Multi-Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG) as an elected representative of the local community.

This development has come about following calls by individuals and parish councils for a voice on the group that decides how the fair will be managed and policed.

I look forward to working with other members of the MASCG to help ensure that the 2019 fair is safe and enjoyable for all concerned — including local residents, visitors and members of the gypsy/traveller community.

It has been said that politics is the art of the possible, which suggests that we can’t always achieve the ideal and that compromises have to be made. I think most people understand that.

For me, the most important thing is that decisions are made on a fair and equitable basis and I will seek to ensure that is the case.

I am hugely encouraged by the appointment of Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor as Gold Command during the period of the fair. Rob is a very experienced police officer and understands the key issues involved. He has taken note of the concerns that were expressed following the 2018 fair and I am confident that Rob will make whatever changes are necessary regarding the policing of the 2019 fair, within the limits of the resources he has at his disposal.

I also appreciate the determination expressed by representatives of the gypsy/traveller community to improve relations with local residents and help solve some of the more challenging aspects of the fair, which became evident last year.

In conclusion, I would invite readers to contact me if they have any immediate or continuing concerns (contact details available online).

PHIL DEW

(County Councillor for Kirkby Stephen)