DEBATE continues to rage about the value of Bridlington’s seafront fair, prompting one ride owner to defend the area against what she sees as an ‘attack’ by the town council.
Dozens of readers have responded to last week’s report on Bridlington Town Council’s call to move the fair out of the town centre and Lynn Shufflebottom, owner of the seafront Carousel Park, says that in times of economic hardship, talk of moving the fairground is unhelpful to the town.
She said: “As a businessperson I have a lot of respect for all the other businesses in the town who all work together to bring people into Bridlington.
“We need a town council that is going to work with us, not against us.
“Why fix something that isn’t broken? We have been here for a long time now so surely that proves that the fair is working?”
Lynn, whose seafront park has 13-rides, said that she often spoke to fairground users who came to the town to use the facility and then went on to buy food and drinks in the cafes before going on to shop in the town centre.
“The fair is an attraction that the rest of Bridlington can feed off and benefit from,” she said.
“We are all in hard times at the moment, we employ a lot of people in the town and all of a sudden there is the question of moving the rides off the seafront, but that is not the answer, it feels like an attack on us when really we all want what’s best for Bridlington.”
Judging by the dozens of comments on the Free Press facebook page and letters to the editor, local residents remain divided about whether Bridlington’s fairground is an eyesore or an asset.
One reader, Jean Holdsworth, sent in old postcards of the seafront showing the beauty of the gardens of the past which she believes should be restored in place of the fair.
78-year-old Mrs Holdsworth, who lived in Bridlington before moving to York to be near her family after becoming a widow, described the historic gardens as a ‘delight’ and said that in her opinion the funfair had ‘ruined the seafront’.
She said: “Don’t get me wrong, I love Bridlington and I visit every week as well as encouraging all my York friends to go to Brid, but the fair has ruined the seafront.
“It used to be so beautiful down there and the gardens were enjoyed by people of all ages, not just the elderly, I was young myself when I lived in Brid and I was horrified when they brought the funfair in.
“It was put there when trade declined because everybody started going on cheap holidays abroad, but times have changed so the original reason for the fair being put there in the first place is now outdated and it shouldn’t have stayed longer than 20-years.
“I think moving it would be a good idea and restoring the gardens to what they were would still attract people - just a different kind of person.”
Her views are echoed by Julie Jones who wrote on the Free Press facebook page to say, ‘get rid of them (the rides), they are an eyesore, put the seafront back to its former glory’ and Lorraine Wilson who wrote: “The area has been overdeveloped.
“The funfair now needs somewhere else” adding, “Can we have a ‘nice’ seafront back please!?”
Facebook contributor Jon Hornby even likened the seafront fair to looking as if ‘a giant clown threw up on the sea front’.
However, there were many supporters of the funfair including Mark Nicholson who said, ‘they are a key attraction and are vital to the town’s economy; particularly as Bridlington shares the same challenges as other UK seaside resorts’, and Jasmine Guesthouse who argued that ‘fair rides are part of the tradition of the seaside.’
Many other residents and visitors also voiced their support for the fair on facebook, though one common complaint from locals was that the rides are too expensive.