CHILDREN are to set to enjoy festive fairground rides at Knutsford after Cheshire East agreed to reduce the cost of health and safety checks.

John Collins Funfairs is due to be part of the Knutsford Town Council-organised Knutsford Christmas Market over the last weekend in November.

The fair offers seven children’s fairground rides, but faced being cancelled because of the cost of a Cheshire East Council charge for ‘health and safety due diligence’ checks.

The business faced having to pay a minimum of £1,700, and possibly as much as £2,500, for checking documents.

John Collins said the charge would make the two-day children’s fair at the Cheshire East car park behind Waitrose in Knutsford unviable as it would lose money.

He asked Cheshire East to look again at the charge, a plea which has seen the council agree to reduce the cost of the checks to £350.

John has received the backing of Knutsford Town Council, which has had an £800 licence fee for the fair waived by Cheshire East.

The children’s fair is to take place over the weekend of Saturday, November 30 and Sunday, December 1.

“We could not take a gamble on holding the fair if the charge had been £1,700,” said Mr Collins.

“We are pleased that the cost has been reduced to £350, but it is still a significant amount, and more than we expected to pay.

“However we are willing to take a gamble on staging the fair, taking that extra cost into account, and will see how it goes.

“Families have always supported us in Knutsford, and we are banking on getting enough people to come along to cope with the extra £350 we are having to pay.

“We always wanted to hold the fair in Knutsford, as long as everything was sorted out, and appreciate the support shown by the community.

“The town has always made us feel welcome, Knutsford is one of our favourite places to attend, and we have a long history in the town.”

He said the town council had been a ‘massive help’ to the fairground operator, and as long as the paperwork he was due to provide to Cheshire East was accepted the fair would be going ahead.

The cancellation of the fair would have hit the town council’s budget, as £1,100 of income was anticipated from the fair.

Alex Brown from the town council said: “We are very relieved that the issues surrounding the attendance of the funfair at the market have been resolved.

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“We know that many residents have been very excited about the funfair returning to the Christmas Market, so we are extremely happy that we are now able to deliver our promise, as we know the funfair is enjoyed by many people at the event.

“The original charges proposed by Cheshire East Council sadly meant it would not be sustainable for either John Collins Funfair nor the town council to go ahead with booking the funfair for the market.

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“The reduction of fees for the both the funfair provider and the town council means the funfair will be able to attend, although the fee does mean they will have a reduced income, which might affect their attendance at future events.

“We are glad of the outcome for this year, and hope that everyone enjoys the funfair at the event which will located on Princess Street car park for the entire weekend.”

Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for environment and regeneration, said: “We deal with a large number of requests to stage events and other attractions on council-owned land.

“We are working with Knutsford Town Council to try to ensure that this event can take place and is both successful and delivered safely, as public safety is paramount.

"In view of the number of similar events across the borough, the council has engaged the services of an external consultant to carry out essential health and safety due diligence checks on fairground rides and associated equipment.

“In view of the special circumstances in this and other cases we are waiving some of the fees the council is charging.

"We will cover the majority of these costs as a gesture of goodwill, and will continue to work with event organisers to try to ensure these events can go ahead with all the essential health and safety due diligence in place.”