Warwick Mop can stay - but there will be changes...

Children enjoying the  Warwick Mop fair
Children enjoying the Warwick Mop fair

With the licence for the Warwick Mop coming up for renewal next spring, district council officers have taken the opportunity of recommending some changes.

Among these is the idea of adding a careers advice stall to the event which some locals suggest would bring it back closer to its 14th century roots as a hiring fair.

But Mop-goers can no longer expect to go home carrying a goldfish in a plastic bag of water, because there will be an outright ban on live animals as prizes.

Flexibility on opening times would allow the licence holder to make concessions to the community such as opening early for schoolchildren. But all activities over the two weekends most close by 10pm.

And to counter requests from a small group of central Warwick shopkeepers that the Mop is moved further out from the town centre, it’s being suggested regular liaison meetings are held to resolve any specific nuisance issues.

There have been no noise or fume control complaints in recent years but council officers suggest measures should be introduced to check these and that the ten year licence be reviewed every five years.

District councillor Stephen Cross, who is also a member of Warwick town council, will present the list of recommendations at a meeting of the executive committee next Tuesday (Sep 3).

The Mop has no impact on the council’s budget as the Showman’s Guild - which currently holds the licence - has to put up a bond of £25,000 in advance to cover any damage, repairs or other costs associated with the two weekends a year.

In recent years Guild member Tommy Wilson and his family have been solely in charge of the event.

Earlier this year - as a public consultation exercise was being carried out - Mr Wilson expressed his dissatisfaction at any move away from the traditional base in Warwick town centre.

Many residents of the town, who took part in the council’s survey agreed with him.

Some openly expressed the opinion that any relocation, to open ground such as the racecourse, would risk the unique traditions and culture of Warwick, leading to ‘homogenisation’ as in so many other towns, and even ‘gentrification.’

Cllr Cross (Con, Warwick North), the portfolio holder for culture, said it could be assumed that regardless of who took on the renewed licence, some members of the Showmen’s Guild would be involved - with the same families running the fair whose livelihoods may be affected.

If the recommendations are not agreed, he adds: “Legal advice indicates that the Showmen may have legal grounds on which to object to changes via a judicial review.”