Chichester's Sloe Fair to retain 900-year-old charter

Concerns over the future of the city's historic Sloe Fair have been quelled as the organisers announced an attraction will be place on the site.

Monday, 19th October 2020, 12:51 pm
Updated Monday, 19th October 2020, 12:52 pm

A spokesman for The Showman's Guild confirmed that a small attraction would be placed on the site as the Coronavirus pandemic meant this year's festivities would not be going ahead.

Chichester District Council has been working with The Showman’s Guild to ensure it retains the right to hold the event in future years. This will involve an attraction being placed on Northgate car park on the date the Fair was due to take place.

The attraction will not be available for the public to use. The event, which has been running for 900 years, has a Royal Charter that allows it to return to the car park every year.

A sign dedicated to showman Harry Stroud who defended the charter during the Second World War

The event is unable to go ahead due to the requirement for a coronavirus test site to be placed in a section of Northgate car park in Chichester, where the Sloe Fair historically takes place.

Cllr Tony Dignum, cabinet member for growth, place and regeneration at Chichester District Counci said: “We totally understand that people may be disappointed that this year’s Sloe Fair cannot take place as usual.

"We want to assure people that we are making sure that the Showman’s Guild retains its Royal Charter by allowing it to place a fairground attraction on Northgate car park on Tuesday 20 October, when the event was due to take place”

“The health of our residents, businesses and visitors has to be our top priority at this time. Although the event can’t take place this year, we are sure it will come back bigger and better in the years to come.”

Chichester District Council has been working with its partners to respond to the current pandemic and do everything it can to drive down infection rates.

As part of this, the council has provided the NHS Test and Trace service with a section of its Northgate car park to operate a walk-through coronavirus test centre, which is now operational and can be accessed by appointment only.

Testing is providing an effective way to contain the virus and so this facility will play an important role in keeping residents safe. The majority of the car park is still available for residents, visitors and commuters to use.