West Dunbartonshire Council has approved proposals for a funfair at Dumbarton Common later this month – despite objections from residents.
A public entertainment license for a fair at the Common between Saturday, April 23 and Monday, May 2 was granted last week, after the applicant vowed to work with residents to reduce any issues caused by noise or antisocial behaviour.
The application received three objections from locals, who highlighted concerns after previous events led to fighting in the streets, attendees urinating in gardens and left areas of the Common churned up and muddy.
Speaking to members, local resident Kenneth Goodwin outlined his concerns, saying: “I do not want to present myself as some sort of killjoy. I believe that fun is a very good thing, and the more of it the better.
“I am aware that the funfairs, like many other businesses, are emerging from a very difficult time with restrictions.
“My objections are not on the grounds of the funfair, but rather on the choice of location. Those of us who have lived by the Common for many years have a vivid awareness of the history of the shows. And it is not a good experience.
“In the past the presence of the shows was regularly associated with antisocial behavior and public disorder.
“Not just urinating in our gardens, but on a regular basis running battles which spilled into our gardens. On occasion I remember having to rescue individuals from being chased by other members of a rival gang.
“Many years ago a decision was made to re-site the shows away from the Common. And they operated on the far bank of the River Leven.
“We were assured at the time that this would be a permanent situation.
“We are worried that, even after many years, a similar situation might recur.
“Even if it did not, the Common is not a suitable location for heavy vehicles and heavy equipment. The Common floods easily and the ground is soft. Even the council’s tractors can leave deep gouges.”
However, in response applicant William Taylor reassured residents that a controlled entry system would be in place, and that he and his family would work with the community to prevent any problems arising.
Mr Taylor said: “We will encircle the whole fair with fencing so that there is only one entrance.
“Mr Goodwin mentions worries about the grass area.
“On that area, as we did years ago, we used the hard surface where we assembled all the heavier rides.
“In the middle section we had lighter kiddies rides and catering units. What I normally do when it comes to noise is notify houses in the vicinity and give them some telephone numbers.
“They are asked if unpleasant noise occurs to phone up and it will just take a second to turn down the volume system.
“The way we’re operating now, with a paid entrance system and wristband, is very different to the funfairs of yesteryear.
“I am happy to speak to Mr Goodwin every day and work together to make sure everything is okay for those in the local area.”
The license was unanimously granted by councillors.