Leader clarifies council’s remit in respect of event at privately-owned venue

Published Wednesday 26 July 2023


The Leader of Harborough District Council, Cllr Phil Knowles, has clarified the district council’s remit in respect of the church convention event that is taking place at the Market Harborough Showground (Saturday 22 July to Thursday 27 July).

The Leader has also confirmed that following the closure of some businesses in the area allegedly in response to the event, he and council officers are very happy to meet businesses to hear and discuss concerns they have had.

As a courtesy by the event organisers, the council was notified of the event at the end of June 2023. A multi-agency working group first met on 5 July and this included the district council, Leicestershire County Council, Leicestershire Police, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue, the event organisers and the showground.

At this first meeting, due to the expectation that there could be 800 caravans and between 2,000 and 4,000 people attending the event, it was collectively agreed that there should not be any advertising of the event to ensure that people did not travel down in advance of it starting. The multi-agency working group met again on 14 and 20 July, and since the start of the event on 22 July the group has met on a daily basis to ensure that the event goes as safely and smoothly as possible.

These multi-agency meetings are attended by council officers on behalf of Harborough District Council, and not councillors.

Cllr Knowles, Leader of Harbrough District Council, said: “In respect of the council’s licensing responsibility for the event, I am advised it was established that there would be no licensable activities so no licences were required, applied for or issued."

Responding to the closure of some local businesses in response to the event, Cllr Knowles said: “Having spoken to officers at Harborough District Council, I can confirm that neither the council nor, I am advised, Leicestershire Police have advised any businesses to close due to the event at the showground. 

“I was made aware via third parties of a meeting of businesses about the event on the showground that apparently took place on Monday (24 July) afternoon. I was not formally advised of the meeting and did not receive any invitation to attend, and as far as I know, no invitation was extended to our officers.

“I am very happy as always to meet with local businesses to hear their concerns directly. I will host a meeting in the council offices and ensure that senior council officers are on hand to assist with answering any questions that the businesses may have.”

Following confirmation of the event by the showground, and throughout the event, the council and partner agencies have directed questions about the event at the privately-managed showground to the venue.

To the council’s knowledge, there has not been any reported Anti-Social Behaviour caused by those attending the event.

Any businesses wishing to attend a meeting at the council offices should email business@harborough.gov.uk

A date and time for the meeting will then be arranged and confirmed.