Circus plans to set up on Cheltenham's Pittville Park move closer despite concerns over impact
CONTROVERSIAL plans to bring a circus to one of Cheltenham's most iconic parks have moved a step closer.
The owners of Gifford's Circus met borough council officials this week to discuss proposals to move onto Pittville Park for eight days later this year.
It would mean acrobats, clowns, jugglers and a host of other acts would perform in a tented village on the park.
However, concerns have been raised about the damage circus-related traffic could cause to grass.
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Borough councillor Dave Prince (PAB, Pittville) attended the meeting to raise his objections.
He said: "I am absolutely against this from happening and I have made my point very clear.
"The park simply won't stand up to the amount of traffic the circus would bring. Particularly in the wet weather, which we have had a lot of over the past year, it would cause a lot of damage.
"They would potentially be on there for eight days and I think it would also cause disruption to people living nearby. They don't want a tented village right outside where they live."
Mr Prince said the mood at the meeting was receptive towards the move going ahead.
"I can't believe the council are even entertaining the idea, but officers seemed quite positive," he added.
"I intend to go around knocking on the doors of residents to get their views on board. My view is that this shouldn't happen, but I want to hear what people living nearby think."
Gifford's Circus visits the town every year – normally setting up base at Cheltenham Racecourse. So far it has yet to confirm dates or a venue for its appearance in Cheltenham in 2013.
The council said it was satisfied with the initial proposals from the circus which had addressed any concerns about excess noise. The next step is for owners to submit an events plan.
Cheltenham resident Lucy Staite said: "I love Giffords Circus. It would be great to see it in Pittville Park."
Yvonne Hope, head of public protection at the authority, said: "A full event management plan has been requested and organisers offered to attend a residents' meeting to address their concerns."
Circus spokeswoman Maisie Rose McArthur said: "We are still hoping to come to Pittville Park. We are big fans of Cheltenham and will look forward to coming to the town – no matter what site we use."