Widespread consultation about the future of Warwick’s Mop fairs appears to have come to no very firm conclusion, according to Cllr Stephen Cross, who chaired a steering group on the matter.
Both the Mop and Runaway Mop in October have an historic right to space in the town - but a new licence does have to be granted every ten years.
This was the reason for the council survey which received responses from 450 local residents. Cllr Cross said the majority of respondents believed the fairs were fun events and part of the town’s cultural identity. Although some 66 per cent did say they would like to see more traditional rides at the Mop. In the past some town councillors and traders have grumbled about the higher, heavier rides, potentially damaging the fabric of Warwick’s older buildings.
Some suggested the bigger rides, or the whole Mop, moved on to the racecourse.
Cllr Cross said there was an even split between those who wanted the Mop to remain in Market Place and those who wanted it to move to another part of the town.
Responses from shopkeepers right in the town centre were more negative as they reported a reduction in takings, more worries about anti-social behaviour and difficulty in accessing their properties.
Mop licence holder Tommy Wilson, who is a member of the Showman’s Guild but took over Warwick’s licence from the guild some years ago, does not agree with any suggestion of a move to the racecourse.
This week he was due to meet district council officers to discuss bringing more Victorian rides to the car park near the bus station as part of the 1,100 year celebrations.
Cllr Cross (Con, Warwick North) said: “Before next year’s licence is issued we wanted to review the future of the Mop. But the results of the consultation were pretty much 50-50 on every aspect.”
A panel of councillors will now consider the findings before making any recommendations to the executive committee in July or August.