THE annual funfair in Alresford has been cancelled after civic chiefs said they could not support the event because of the risk to public health.

The fair is held every October in Broad Street, closing the road to through traffic for a day. It was due to be held on Thursday October 15. It usually attract thousands of people.

But its operator organisers, John Searle Fun Fairs and New Alresford Town Trust, hav been told by the city council that it cannot go ahead in the light of the increase in coronavirus cases.

In an email to John Searle Fun Fairs, and seen by the Chronicle, Abigail Toms, city council environmental protection manager, said the risk was too great.

Ms Toms wrote: "As you will have noted from the Government broadcasts at the beginning of the week, the spread of the Covid-19 virus appears to be again on the increase and the direction of travel is generally not favourable towards events right now.

"The advice of our colleagues at Hampshire County Council Public Health is that all funfairs in Hampshire should cease operating and that funfairs due to commence operation should not go ahead.

"This is because (this is lifted directly from their correspondence with us):

1. The incidence of Covid19 in the community has continued to increase Nationally and in Hampshire.

2. The Chief Medical Officer announced that the National Alert Level has been raised to Level 4, which means that transmission of Covid19 in the community is "high or rising exponentially: enforced social distancing".

3. HM Government has issued, and continues to issue, new guidelines on social gatherings with the objective of reducing exposure and onward spread of infection. This includes the ‘rule of 6’, which cannot be practically enforced at a fun-fair.

4. Given that a family unit (persons, both young and old) will attend such settings this adds a further dimension to the opportunity and consequence of onward infection.

"The decision has been taken in order to control onward infection to those in (and beyond) Hampshire. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news and recognise that this will come as a huge disappointment to you, but the county’s advice is that funfairs should not be operating right now because the risk of transmission is too great. The city council can not therefore support your event."

Hampshire Chronicle: The fair in Broad StreetThe fair in Broad Street

John Searle Fun Fairs and New Alresford Town Trust have been asked for comment.

Robin Atkins, chairman of the trust, said: "As I understand it the last time that the Fair was not held was October 1944  when it was recorded by the then  town trust clerk that a zoo Proprietor stationed a caravan for a short time in Broad St.for the purpose of keeping the fair "open".

"As chair of NATT I am very disappointed that the Fair cannot go ahead this year but realise that the health and safety are a priority.

"The trustees are not experts so we must accept that Hampshire County Health officers reasons for not allowing the Fair to take place are sound.  Let us hope that the Fair in  October 2021 is a success".