Cumbria County Council is seeking to ban horses and horse-drawn vehicles from an area in Appleby for two months spanning the week-long Appleby Horse Fair, though no decision has yet made on whether the fair should go ahead this year.
The council has proposed a new traffic regulation order for The Sands, Bridge Street, and Jubilee which would ban such movements from April 30 to June 30 inclusive, every year, despite the fair historically only running for a week in June and more recently usually lasting only the weekend.
The proposed order seeks to ban horse-drawn vehicles and horses – ridden or accompanied – from Bridge Street and sections of The Sands either side of the pedestrian crossing and also ban them, and vehicles, from Jubilee ford and Castle Bank.
It is claimed the proposal is made following a request for additional restrictions from the Multi-Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group which includes organisations involved in the fair who work together to facilitate it safely.
The new regulation, it is said, is needed to “formalise a long-standing arrangement that Boroughgate and the part of Appleby located to the west of the River Eden be kept free of equine traffic during the event”.
The request in relation to The Sands is said to follow “measures being successfully trialled in 2019”.
Concerns have been raised that the order on the Sands could stop gypsy travellers washing their horses in the River Eden.
However the ban relates only to a section around the pedestrian crossing, meaning horses can still access the Sands and the river ramp, but cannot access St Lawrence’s bridge into the town centre.
The proposed traffic regulation order was raised at a meeting of Appleby Town Council where town, district and Cumbria county councillor Andy Connell said the proposal has caused a lot of concern on social media and he too was unsure as to the length of time for which it would apply.
Councillor John Pape said it could cause problems for Romany bow tops accessing Fair Hill, while councillor Tom Wignall added that it could also hinder funerals which wanted to use a horse-drawn hearse.
Eden councillor Karen Greenwood, who is also a member of the MASCG group, said it was possible the order would only be enforced for a matter of days during the fair, rather than the entire period of the order.