‘All fair and square’ as wall which breached Stevenage royal charter is destroyed

Stevenage Charter Fair 2015

Stevenage Charter Fair 2015 - Credit: Archant

Delighted fair-goers will be able to ride the dodgems in Stevenage Old Town again tonight after a wall which prevented them from being used last year was pulled down.

The Wall

The Wall - Credit: Archant

Stevenage Borough Council gave Wetherspoon pub The Standing Order planning permission to build a wall at the front of its property before last year’s autumn fair, on the condition that it met highways guidelines.

But the structure meant the dodgems ride could not fit into its usual location in High Street.

Last year fair managers and some neighbours spoke out, saying the wall contravened the original Stevenage charter which gave the fair permission to come to town each year ‘for all time’ in 1281.

Herts County Council has since declared the wall must come down because it is in contravention of the Highways Act, and last week workmen pulled the structure down and replaced it with removable plant pots.

A county council spokeswoman said: “Wetherspoon applied for and was granted planning permission to build a wall on the highway but never got permission to acquire ownership of that part of the highway.

“The wall had to be removed as it was in contravention of the Highway Act and also blocked part of the historic Stevenage Charter Fair.

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“Wetherspoon has agreed to remove the wall and we’ll look at proposals to agree a licence for a removable structure after the fair.”

Stevenage writer and historian Hugh Madgin, who lives in Middle Row, said he would be taking extra goes on the dodgems this year to celebrate. He said: “Certainly someone’s head will be on a spike for this.

“The fair goes right back to when Stevenage first became a town back in 1281, that’s why it’s so important.

“It’s the most popular event in the town.”

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “At the request of Herts County Council, which is responsible for the pavement in front of the pub, the company removed a section of wall which marked the edge of the outside area used by our customers in favour of a removable structure.”

The fair runs from 5pm to midnight tonight and tomorrow.