Row over council fee for charity fair

By David LennardAN antiques fair that has raised thousands of pounds for charity has been hit with a road closure bill for the first time.Halesworth Antiques Fair will be held in the town's Thoroughfare from 10am to 4.

By David Lennard

AN antiques fair that has raised thousands of pounds for charity has been hit with a road closure bill for the first time.

Halesworth Antiques Fair will be held in the town's Thoroughfare from 10am to 4.30pm on August 24.

It attracts huge interest from antique dealers and members of the public from all over East Anglia and in the past 12 years has raised money for the British Heart Foundation.


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Last year the organisers were able to present the charity with a cheque for £4,500.

But Waveney District Council is now charging £135 for the road to be closed and the unexpected bill has left organisers shocked and angry.

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Miles Lambert, a member of the organising committee, said: “I have tried to get the council to change its mind because we are raising money for charity, but I have not been successful.”

The event has grown in popularity over the years and more than 80 stallholders are expected to line the Thoroughfare with a wide variety of antiques on sale.

“The site rents paid by the stallholders go directly to the British Heart Foundation,” said Mr Lambert.

Other money for the charity is raised by people donating to collecting boxes beside some of the stalls and in the pubs and restaurants along The Thoroughfare.

Unless a sponsor can help with the bill, the road closure fee will have to be paid for from money that would have gone to the British Heart Foundation.

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said it, in line with most other councils in the region, now charged for road closures.

“There are so many statutory authorities, including the police, fire service and transport companies, that we have to notify of planned street closures and it is time-consuming for council employees,” he added.

“In line with other local authorities we feel it is fairer to make a charge on those requesting the street closure rather than passing on the cost to the council tax payer.”

n Anyone can help the organisers of the antiques street fair and would like to help them pay the road closure fee should contact the EADT's Halesworth office on 01986 874960.

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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