Circus eyes move to Pittville Park
CIRCUS performers could take centre stage in one of Cheltenham's most popular town centre parks.
The owners of Gifford's Circus, which visits the town every year, want to move from its regular venue at the racecourse to Pittville Park, bringing acrobats, clowns, jugglers and a host of other acts.
They believe the move closer to town would attract more people to the popular show.
But a community leader in Pittville has voiced his disapproval of the idea, claiming the park could get churned up by circus traffic.
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Nell and Toti Gifford, who own the circus, will meet borough council officials next month to discuss the possibility of the move.
Circus spokeswoman Maisie Rose McArthur said: "Both Nell and Toti Gifford attended schools in Cheltenham and are very fond of the town.
"We have always enjoyed taking the circus to Cheltenham and are excited at the possibility of visiting Pittville."
Every year the circus descends on Cheltenham Racecourse in a jamboree of tented stalls, painted wagons and fairground rides, normally for five days in May or June.
However, so far it has yet to confirm dates or a venue for its appearance in Cheltenham in 2013.
After being founded in 2000, the circus has become a popular spectacle, appearing at many towns and villages across the county.
But borough councillor Dave Prince (PAB, Pittville) said he was against the circus coming to Pittville Park.
"I think we're in danger of allowing too many events to go on in Pittville Park," he said.
"There is already a busy schedule of events taking place there this year, including a half marathon, and we've got to make sure we protect it.
"No one round here will support the idea of a circus coming. It's just not a suitable place for it.
"With all the heavy traffic you would get, plus the crowds, it could easily have a negative impact on the state of the park.
"In any case I don't see why they would want to move from the racecourse, where it normally takes place."
Borough council officials, including representatives of licensing, planning and parks departments, will meet with Giffords bosses at the Municipal Offices on February 12 to discuss the move.
Mr Prince has said he will also attend the meeting.