| TT Fun Fair Under Fire
Two Douglas East MHKs have blasted the decision to
hold a fun fair at Lord Street bus station, Douglas.
In a last-minute scramble, the fair normally held at
Noble's Park was set up at the bus station.
But Phil Braidwood and Brenda Cannell reacted angrily
over the Department of Tourism and Leisure's failure
to consult them.
They believe the fair is causing noise pollution,
parking problems and chaos for bus passengers.
Mr Braidwood said: 'I am astounded that nobody has
come to us as we would obviously have made some
comments. They have just gone ahead with no
'There is going to be a lot of noise because, unlike
at Noble's, the noise won't dissipate. We have some
hotels nearby and areas where the elderly live.
'There are no places to park and we have lost the
Bottleneck car park to the beer tent. There are also
the office workers who need places to park.'
He continued: 'I have received complaints about the
bus service in the area. Some elderly people have been
wandering around not knowing what to do. It has been
Mrs Cannell said: 'It is disappointing the DTL didn't
have the courtesy of informing us.
'It is going to be a hassle for the elderly people
The DTL has ensured the normal noise from music at the
fair will be cut by about two-thirds but Mrs Cannell
said: 'If it is full there will be a lot of screaming
'If it is going to be run to the same times as in
previous years it won't finish until gone 10pm.'
The decision to go ahead with the fair was made just
two days before its arrival. But Mrs Cannell described
it as a knee-jerk reaction.
She said: 'A decision like this which is important to
the local community cannot be decided in 48 hours. It
has been put together without proper thought.
'If you do it like this you will have problems. It is
crisis management and the whole of the TT events have
been done like this.'
DTL Minister David Cretney said his department was
forced to make a quick decision over where the fair
Drainage problems at Noble's Park and the fact the TT
'festival' is centred on the promenade and not at the
grandstand dictated the venue.
Mr Cretney said: 'It was all very last minute. We
could not hold it at Noble's Park because the fair
would be required to put down plastic or wooden
flooring to stop the rides from sinking.
'It would cost a lot of money which the fair couldn't
afford and therefore would not have come.
'Due to the circumstances [of foot-and-mouth] we
wanted to put activities on in the urban areas.
'It would have been a great shame if the fair hadn't
come, especially for the youngsters of the Isle of
In relation to the alleged bus chaos Mr Cretney said
there have been problems with people having to move
from shelter to shelter for different buses.
But he explained: 'We have tried our best to provide
temporary bus shelters and we have improved the
DTL chief executive Terry Toohey said it had worked
closely with Douglas Corporation and the departments
of transport and local government and the environment.
'Other places have town centre funfairs and we are
hoping it will work well,' he said.
'The operators have indicated they will reduce the
noise factor and the situation, including health and
safety aspects, will be monitored. I hope the fair
will add to the atmosphere.'
He allayed fears the fair was disrupting the bus
Mr Toohey said: 'The bus service will not be affected
at all. We will use this opportunity as a dry run for
when the Lord Street station is decommissioned
'There is the lay-by for buses to pull in to and there
are stops on the seaward side also.'
Fair operator Jan De Koning said the bus station was a
better venue for the quieter TT.
'Even if we could have used Noble's as there is very
little camping close by and we wanted to be nearer the
action on Douglas promenade,' he said.
'Bringing over a great big fair would probably not
have been viable.
'My first preference would probably have been along
the prom but the hoteliers would probably object.'
The fair, open until June 17, also has a new ride.
Mr De Koning explained: 'We have a big new attraction
called the Bomber. It is a great big propeller with
four seats on each end which spins in excess of 70mph
and is 140 feet high. It is the only one of its kind
Mr De Koning said all the necessary precautions have
been taken regarding foot-and-mouth.
He said: 'We have cancelled a lot of events in England
as we attend a lot of agricultural ones but we have
sprayed all the equipment and have worked closely with
the relevant authorities.'
Mr Cretney concluded by saying: 'My department has
been faced with a million different problems with
'I apologise if anyone has been inconvenienced but if
they have a problem they should contact me and I will
be happy to help.'
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