Row over country event signs

PUBLISHED: 12:22 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:09 06 May 2010

One of the signs

One of the signs

A WAR of words broke out between Stevenage Borough Council and Knebworth House after Cancelled signs were slapped over posters advertising a major Bank Holiday event in the stately home s park. The row started after organisers of the Country Show set up

A WAR of words broke out between Stevenage Borough Council and Knebworth House after 'Cancelled' signs were slapped over posters advertising a major Bank Holiday event in the stately home's park.

The row started after organisers of the Country Show set up posters on boards around the town, including some roundabouts, highlighting the event last Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.

Martha Lytton Cobbold, managing director of Lytton Enterprises who manage the park, said: "This act by the council was an extreme method and for me too strong.

"The phones were ringing off the hook on Friday with people wanting to know if the event was really cancelled.

"Where people advertise on the highway is a very grey area. The advertising boards were put up by the organisers of the event.

"We are a vital part of the tourist industry around here and we need to support one another and this doesn't help.

"In the event we were saved by the weather and we had a very good attendance on both days."

A spokesman for the borough council said: "The council contacted Knebworth House the previous Monday and allowed the organisers until 4pm last Thursday to remove the illegal signs prior to action being taken.

"As no action was taken, a further phone call was made on Friday morning, stating 'Cancelled' stickers would be attached to the signs. The stickers actually stated the illegal advertising is cancelled. Not the event itself.

"This is an established measure to deal with fly posting and is aimed at deterring the culprit from putting up further fly posters in the borough."

But Martha Lytton Cobbold hit back saying: "Nobody could read the small print about illegal advertising. All you could read as you passed the signs was the word 'Cancelled'."

Despite the last minute hitch, the show was a big hit with thousands flocking to Knebworth Park. Sunday saw long queues in the warm spring sunshine and even on Monday the overnight rain and chilly wind did not deter people from attending.

A superb array of stalls greeted country lovers with a range of items for sale from clothing to food, fine art to sporting equipment.

There were also live field events with the fast action of games on horseback thrilling the crowds as well as heavy horses pulling logs and falconry. Dog lovers were also entertained with a display of gun dog training.

And if you wanted to try your own skills at some of the country pursuits there was clay pigeon shooting and archery and even wall climbing. The lawnmower racing was another exciting spectacle.


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