Spiralling costs and unresolved issues force cancellation of 2022 Addington Street Revival Fair

Addington Street Revival Fair Photo Brian Whitehead

Spiralling costs and uncertainty over road closure and use of café facilities has resulted in the cancellation of the Addington Street Revival Fair which was due to take place in September.

Addington Street Community Group Committee (ASCG) says it has made the sad decision to cancel the fair “due to spiralling costs and uncertainty concerning the road closure and use of the café on Spencer Square, decisions which lay in the hands of others.”

The committee says it now feels the ‘writing was on the wall’ in 2019 when the event made losses of just under £1500, which the group had  to cover from its very small reserves.

‘Utterly shocked’

A statement from the ASCG says: “This year we have been utterly shocked at costs which are now beyond our financial means, with some representing a 200% increase for services deemed necessary for permission to be granted by the Events Team at TDC. First Aid cover for the day has risen to just over £900 from just over £300, for example.

“We have also found that services used previously are no longer trading, including for the essential road closure, without which the event cannot happen. Despite approaching a number of other companies, some of which have also ceased trading, we have been unable to secure a contract for the event, with the fee companies left seemingly fully booked or simply outside our budget.

“In addition, new costs have been added by Thanet District Council including payment for the ‘non-paid parking bays’ on Addington Street and the Broadway as well as a number of ‘paid parking bays’ at the top of Nelson Crescent.

“The event relies totally on small grants, fundraising and income from the sale of pitches for stalls. This year we were forced to add £5 to a small pitch now costing £35 but this has proved difficult for some as they also require Public Liability Insurance, despite the event having its own, at a cost of £747.

“Ramsgate Town Council has been very supportive providing a £2,000 grant, which will now be returned, and trying to offer advice and help to overcome obstacles. The event also relies heavily on the use of the café facilities on Spencer Square, another venue for stalls, entertainment, food and drink and the leaseholder has always been very supportive.

“However, their lease expired in September last year and with the support of ward councillors and the Friends of Spencer Square, they have been trying to get Estates at Thanet District council to enter into negotiations concerning a new lease, with little success. As a result, the facility is closed and therefore looks as if it will not be available for the event. The leaseholder provided access to toilets, electricity and water essential to our activities there.”

Becky Wing the Chair of ASCG, said even if a benefactor gifted the additional estimated £4,000 to run the event, the group simply cannot risk what happened to a recent event in Margate, when the Events Team at Thanet District Council were not able to give approval due to issues concerning the road closure.

She added: “It would financially ruin us, as bills would still have to be honoured and stall booking fees returned. We simply do not have the finances to cope given we are a small community group, with limited finances, resources and made entirely of unpaid volunteers. “Having spoken to a number of other events organisers it seems most are facing additional costs and similar issues to overcome which is sad. These events showcase our towns and communities, they generate footfall and additional income for businesses as well as bringing people together. They should not just be viewed as income generators but as events which really do increase ‘social profit’.

“It appears from discussions with organisers who run events in towns outside Thanet that other district councils apply the protocols in a less ‘vigorous way’, reducing costs and documentation which helps encourage events. The committee will  be writing to the Leader of Thanet council and the new Interim CEO to see if this situation can be reviewed.”

A further massive blow to ASCG was the recent unexpected death of their longstanding Treasurer Richard Edwards.

Much-loved Richard Edwards

Richard was the only original member of the previous Historical Fayre Committee and without him the Revival Fair would never have happened.

What little money ASCG had was well managed to maximium benefit by Richard and he also managed the stalls with his vast knowledge of ‘who is who and where they go’.

Becky added: “He was totally committed and always on hand to help. He was also a much-loved friend, will be greatly missed and will be an extremely hard act to follow. ASCG would like to take this opportunity of sending our condolences to Richard’s family and hope that they can take some comfort in the fact Richard was simply a lovely man, much loved, much valued and greatly missed.

“ASCG will now try to regroup, we have some ideas for the future to create a number of smaller events that will be more sustainable, less problematic and costly. We have not taken this decision lightly but in the face of multiple demands we simply felt we had no choice, too much was actually out of our control.”

35 Comments

  1. Let’s face it, it has had its day long after the original Addington Street Victorian Fair when the local MP (Aitken) would come along to open it. Period costume was the order of the day.
    Now I can have a peaceful Sunday afternoon.

    • Robert Edwards. What a bundle of fun you are, so glad I don’t know you on a personal level. Instead of criticising you could be joining the group to help make it even better if it doesn’t meet your standards any more. Yes, have a quiet day now, all on your sad little own.
      As for mentioning Aitken, if you think a Belmarsh prison inmate is somebody to be lauded then I can only think it says something about you.
      I am only saddened that this event has to be cancelled .

  2. With negativity such as yours it makes the hard efforts of so many brilliant volunteers so much harder.

    It seems to me that costs and TDC obstacles have rendered this event untenable and I for one am very sad to read this and so will many others.

  3. So many companies have little financial resources, so many people are skint or soon to be skint.

    So much has changed over a couple of years, so much has got more expensive. Wait and see your next council tax bill.

    Kind of prefer to see more food/fuel/white appliance/clothing/health banks etc than Addington type one off fairs. Others will disagree but they could fund the addington fair.

    Charity begins at home But others will disagree, as usual…

    Seen it all before !

    • So many people are SUPPOSEDLY skint – yet airports can’t cope with demand, and many UK holiday resorts are thriving. I’m currently on holiday in the “poor” north east (Northumberland), and every restaurant and cafe is packed, with hotels and holiday lets sold out. If this is a recession, then I’d hate to see the recovery!

      As for the Addington Street Fair, I’m truly sorry to hear of its cancellation, as I know it means a lot to many people. For me personally though, I wasn’t tempted to even travel from my home in Birchington, whereas I perhaps would’ve done if it was Victorian themed.

      as

      • Them travellers have saved up and are taking the opportunity after two years to travel away. I dont blame them as our coastal seaside area has become a number2+1 hole with gang fights.

        Shame really but their safer off in a long line in any airport and not getting your luggage than being holidaying in thanet.

        Airlines using gatwick usually do not have any staff for check in, security, baggage hall, refueling, aircraft cleaning and more.
        All the above is done by an airport contractor often dhl gatwick.

        I can only say the airlines told the airports that they were re starting their full schedule of flights.

        Below the wing operatives airside operatives need training and security passes, guess the training and security passes people have left the industry.

        Above the wing are the airline employees, pilots,cabin crew.

        Happy holidays ! Phew its a scorcher

  4. I sympathise and am not surprised by the obstacles put in place by TDC.

    I ran, and helped to run, several large events in Ramsgate but gave up in the end and reinvented some of them outside Thanet because of the interference, incompetence and general lack of goodwill from TDC.

    The attitude over ‘lost revenue’ from car parking is typical. Yes, they might lose half a dozen parking bays on the day – but the extra footfall generated by such events will increase overall revenue maybe ten-fold. Short-sighted bureaucracy who have never actually run an event or have the slightest idea of what’s involved.

    Their costs are imaginative though…

    • Agreed – petty-minded bureaucracy, penny-pinching and short-sightedness from TDC.

      Once upon a time the local council was instrumental in organising such events and officers gave their time to assist.

      Whatever happened to the TDC policy to promote Thanet as a destination ? Such events attract locals and visitors to attend, have an enjoyable experience and spend some money. Everybody benefits as a result.

      Now everybody loses, even TDC, because no money whatsoever changes hands.

  5. Thank you Becky and team for working tirelessly the last few years to make this happen. The residents and retailers appreciate your efforts and all the risks you took. The last two years it operated, the fair was really different, lots of buzz and huge footfall. It’s a great loss to the street, it created such a sense of community. I’m saddened and disappointed in TDC’s inability to see beyond their own cost opportunities and in doing so they have ruined something that was greater than the lost income of a few parking spaces. It’s such a bad look for TDC in light of all their other recent poor decisions for Thanet events and entertainment.

  6. TDC is obsessed with compliance and stricture. The leader and cabinet are a mediocre bunch who lack vision and business sense.

    • Tory led Thanet council have one main policy, stop all events . 3 theatres shut, street musicians banned, now this. They know the price of everything but don’t know the value of anything

      • Tory and Labour, you are all responsibe for Ramsgate’s decline over the years.
        Look at former Labour councillor who robbed the people of Newington estate to feed his gambling addiction. Rotten and corrupt. He also destroyed Newington Centre, telling us it would get rid of the drugs gangs. Really?

          • FedupB, Cllr Lewis is typical of the low standard of local councillors we have to suffer. His problem, like most of the others, is that he does not engage his brain before speaking. They think politics is about point scoring on a party game basis that eventually induces apathy on the part of the electorate. Being an obese scruff-bag does not help, either.

  7. I do sympathise with you.
    I run Cliftonville Farmers’ Market and last August after the new landlords took over in a Community Asset Transfer in July, they cancelled our market saying it was run illegally. Of course this was not true as we all had the correct documents. All Stall holders had PLI for 5 million and for those who bake a Hygiene rating from their council.
    We hold PLI for 10 million.
    After a battle with TDCs Estates department I managed to find the new site we are on now.
    We now have to pay £280 per month and that includes surveyors fees.
    We are a ‘not for profit’ group and this September we celebrate our 21st anniversary.
    Like you we are a group of unpaid volunteers.
    We contacted the CEO of TDC, the Leader, the ex Mayor of Margate & numerous local councillors.
    We did not get a reply from any except one Cliftonville East Councillor.
    The piece of land
    where we hold the market was bequeathed to the old council a long time ago for locals and holidaymakers to use.
    The paperwork that has to be filled in to hold the market is ridiculous, but we won’t have our licence renewed without it.
    Before this asset tranafer of anothet piece of public land and bandstand freehold and at no cost, we had a very good working relationship with the council.
    Not anymore.
    Your event gave so much pleasure to a lot of people and I am sad that you cannot continue.
    Huge thanks for all the time your volunteers have given to this event.
    I now how mych hard work goes into community events.

  8. Kathy Bailes May I suggest that an apology is published to former Councilor XX. One the contributors here has I think inadvertently mixed his name up with another former Councillor.

    I suggest more care is taken on accuracy by all contributors to your comments section of your publication on whatever they choose to post on.

    • I know who I was talking about and the former councillor for Newington had his name splashed all over the local paper.
      Many thousands of pounds were filched by this scoundrel who was given access by dint of being a Councillor. He should have been jailed but was given a more lenient “punishment”. Obviously because compulsive gambling is now regarded as an illness.
      I have not mistaken him for another, I assure you.

      • Kathy Bailes, I did indeed post the wrong name but there was no malice intended. The name I was looking for but could not find was that of former Labour councillor Mike Harrison.
        Harrison disgraced himself by defrauding a community on the Newington Estate of more than £24,000 in order to feed his gambling addiction.
        He was also responsible for the destruction of Newington Centre. Something that was totally unnecessary.

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