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Council cleans up Appleby Horse Fair campsites

Written by on 27/08/2021

Locality Officers from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) have completed a major clean-up of campsites used by Gypsies and Travellers migrating to and from Appleby Horse Fair.

The council set up four temporary stopping places near Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale for fair-goers ahead of this year’s event, which was postponed from June to August due to Covid restrictions.

As well as supplying bins and skips at each location, Locality Officers also built on the goodwill that exists between the council and the Gypsy and Travelling community by making daily visits to all four sites to engage with the fair-goers about litter. Council staff distributed bin bags to help minimise the migration’s impact on the South Lakeland countryside as well as regularly removing the filled sacks.

This partnership approach has been hailed a success, and Sue Warner, SLDC’s Locality Team West Leader, said: “Leading up to the fair, the Locality Team made daily visits to the four areas to give out bin bags to help with the containment of waste. This has helped enormously on the amount of waste left this year.”

Following the closure of the temporary campsites on Friday 20 August, Locality Officers and embarked on a major clean-up of the migration route, clearing 60-70 sacks of litter from the temporary campsites and roadside verges with the help of two road-sweeping vehicles.

“We collected bottles, cans, Pot Noodles, nappies, carpets and lots and lots of wipes,” said Sue Warner. “We cleared the loop road at Devil’s Bridge, Middleton Common and Scrogg Bank Field, all the way through to Rawthey Bridge. All campfires were cleared and left tidy.”

SLDC worked with partner organisations including the county council, police and neighbouring local authorities to ensure the safe movement of fair-goers through the district on their way to and from Appleby. Officers from the council will also be taking part in two multi-agency drop-in events tomorrow – Thursday 26 August – where members of the public can raise any comments, questions and suggestions about the management of this year’s Appleby Horse Fair migration:

–        Kirkby Lonsdale – The Bective Room, Lunesdale Hall, 5pm-6.30pm

–        Sedbergh – The Rawthey Room, Sedbergh Police Office (above Sedbergh Information Centre), 72 Main Street, 7pm-8.20pm.

The temporary stopping places organised by SLDC for traditional ‘bowtop’ caravans and motorised towed caravans on routes through South Lakeland to Appleby were located at:

  • Devil’s Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale
  • Middleton Common, near Sedbergh
  • Rawthey Bridge, Cautley, near Sedbergh
  • Scrogg Bank Field, Sedbergh.

The Locality Officers who prepared the campsites have also been playing a major part in this summer’s Clean Up South Lakeland campaign – launched by SLDC to encourage residents and visitors to help keep the district tidy and litter-free.

Councillor Philip Dixon, SLDC’s Portfolio Holder for Customer and Locality Services, said: “I would like to commend our hard-working Locality Officers for their excellent work before, during and after Appleby Horse Fair. Their efforts are a great example of how they help to keep our district safe, welcoming and enjoyable for everyone, both residents and visitors.

“The council set up these Locality Teams two years ago as part of our wide-reaching Customer Connect transformation programme. The teams are at the heart of our approach to bring council services closer to our communities and to make them more streamlined and easier to access 24/7 through the online My Account feature.

“Our friendly and approachable Locality Officers help to make up the public face of the council, and you may well have seen them out and about in their yellow hi-vis vests, often with a litter-picker in hand. We have three teams covering every corner of South Lakeland’s 600 square miles – Ulverston/West, Lakes/Central and Kendal/East – and they work closely with residents and councillors on the ground.

“Each Locality Team looks after fly-tipping, cemeteries, litter, dog fouling and abandoned vehicles on its own geographical patch, and helps to support community projects. The teams also have “clusters” of work they specialise in across the whole district, from home visits to playgrounds and environmental health.

“They are dedicated to supporting our communities to grow and flourish, by harnessing their local knowledge and their love of South Lakeland to make the district the best it can be for everyone, including the Gypsies and Travellers who pass through each year en route to Appleby.”