Primrose Hill Summer Fair may be cancelled in row over shopkeepers losing trade

Jo Barnett, of the Primrose Hill Business Association, helps organise the summer fair which may be c

Jo Barnett, of the Primrose Hill Business Association, helps organise the summer fair which may be cancelled this year. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

The future of the popular Primrose Hill summer festival hangs in the balance amid accusations of animal cruelty and shopkeepers losing trade.

Last week organisers received a strongly-worded email in opposition to the fair, which brings pony rides, food stalls, live music and large crowds to Regent’s Park Road at the start of the summer.

The person complaining reportedly said he was backed by many more people and his list of grievances included business being taken away from shops and decorations not fitting in with the area.

The Primrose Hill festival takes place twice in November and May in order to raise money to put up the ever-popular Christmas lights.

Cllr Johnny Bucknell, who is secretary of the Primrose Hill Business Association, which organises the fair, said some of the issues will be addressed at a meeting to decide if the fair should go ahead.

“We’ve had some email exchanges and we’re going to organise a meeting with the shopkeepers so we can take some of the dissent on board and improve on the fair,” he said.

“So it looks like it will be going ahead.”

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He added: “The shopkeepers felt the fair detracted from their businesses, but something that I’ve always thought of doing is putting some A-boards out, directing people into the shops.

“There were also some people that felt that having the ponies was animal cruelty, but they’re all fully licensed.

“Also some people didn’t think the decorations were what they should be for the area, but I think we can improve on them, and put more lighting in the trees.”

Jo Barnett who owns Prim Nail and Beauty in Erskine Road, and has been organising the fair since it started five years ago, is hopeful the meeting will smooth over the disagreements.

She said: “I’ve had so much support and so many emails from people all wanting the fair, so hopefully we’ll be able to sort something out and the people who don’t want it might realise they’re not in the majority.

“We want to give everybody the opportunity to voice their opinions, and if they don’t come to the meeting that’s their choice.

“What I don’t want to do is go ahead with something that only I agree with.”

The meeting will be held in Primrose Hill on Tuesday and is open to members of the business association and shopkeepers.