FRUSTRATION and anger has greeted the news Feltham’s popular annual summer event which has existed for six decades has to all intents and purposes been cancelled.
The Feltham Carnival which has drawn large crowds since 1953, and is normally held in Blenheim Park on the second weekend in June, will not be celebrated next month.
However, organisers are attempting to keep the carnival spirit alive in the community and are planning a series of smaller events, but dates are yet to be confirmed.
Cracks began to appear after subcontractors John Laing Integrated Services (JLIS) – which manages parks on behalf of Hounslow Council – stamped down hard on rules and regulations, much to the annoyance of the Feltham Carnival’s organisers.
One committee member, Mark Savage, has been involved with the event since childhood and has been told by a reliable source, the carnival would not take place.
He said: "John Laing appear to be making up or adding rules as they go along, quite in conflict with even the health and safety executive’s own policies now which recognises there is often over-regulation for low risk activities.
"They are threatening an event which has been part of Feltham and Bedfont’s summer social calendar for six decades."
Although a scaled-down carnival was set for this year, with the parade suspended, hopes had been pinned on a traditional fête and horse show in Blenheim Park on Saturday, June 8 – the original date for the event since it began in the same week as the Queen’s Coronation in 1953.
Part of the proposal included a ground plan to ensure all safety issues were followed.
However, some matters remained unresolved such as vehicle and horse box access to the park which has been blocked off due to redevelopment works at the former Feltham
But plans were scuppered with the enforcement of costly rules such as the need for individual insurance policies for stallholders, once covered by a blanket policy, and hiring more security.
Eddie Menday, a member of the Feltham History Group, who sets up a stall every year added: “We as a history group have been planning for a number of weeks and now there is nothing positive coming out of it. John Laing are insisting each stallholder should take out insurance for their stand, which is unheard of.
“They are insisting the organiser employ security guards, when the Met Police are always in attendance.”
Bryan Burdess, Feltham Carnival chairman, added: “There just isn’t time between now and the carnival date for the extra requirements which have come up over the last few months.”
John Laing previously caused a stir with the Feltham and Bedfont community when Bedfont Lakes Country Fair, held in late July, was cancelled due to its policies.
Similar reasons also led to the cancellation of the Brentford Festival which used to take place in Boston Manor Park, but this year is having to move to a venue in neighbouring Ealing.
Organiser Linda Massey said: “One would have hoped that JLIS would have learned from their experience dealing with us and been able to live up to their promises of supporting the local community and not continue to put red tape in the way so; to hear that another event is being cancelled, for whatever reason, can only bring sadness and frustration to many.”
A spokesperson for John Laing Integrated Services said: "John Laing Integrated Services (JLIS) has met with the organisers of the Feltham Carnival on two separate occasions to discuss the delivery of the Carnival. We learnt that there was a possibility that the Carnival could be cancelled on Friday 10th May and as a consequence, immediately contacted the organisers to offer our support to ensure that the event could continue.
"We have been informed that the decision to possibly cancel the event is being made due to difficulties in securing suppliers and volunteers to support the event. There has been no change in the JLIS processes and procedures.
"JLIS is committed to supporting community and voluntary organisations concerning the management of events and activities and we are disappointed that the Carnival may be cancelled."