A survey carried out by South Lakes councillor James Airey has shown support for the idea of levying a charge on Appleby Horse Fairgoers to offset the cost to the county’s public services from managing the event each year.
Of the 372 people who took part, 63 per cent said they were in favour of a charge to recoup the £213,000 annual cost to Cumbrian councils, health services, police and other agencies.
While music festivals and other large outdoor events pay a charge towards policing, council and other services, the Appleby Horse Fair is paid for entirely out the local public purse.
The survey was carried out by councillor James Airey after he received regular complaints from people about the cost of managing the Fair.
Councillor James Airey, who is the Conservative Group leader on Cumbria County Council, said: “The Horse Fair is part of our county’s cultural heritage and the goal of this survey was to see if there was support for the idea of the event contributing directly to the cost it places on local public services each year.
“Around two thirds of people said they would support a charge and suggested various ways they thought this could be administered including a fee for all fairgoers, a permit system for caravans or a licensing charge for the event.
“People who were not supportive of a charge felt it would be too difficult to administer or may put people off attending.
“However, what came across strongly was the view that most people want to see the cost of the Fair being met by fairgoers and organisers in the future.”