THE owner of a fun fair has leapt to its defence after concerns were raised it could result in a spread of covid cases.

Turners Funfairs, based in Durham, is holding its half term fun fair in Bewick Crescent Car Park, in Newton Aycliffe, from Saturday, October 24 to Wednesday, October 28.

The planned event has been met with criticism by concerned residents and police who fear it may cause a surge in coronavirus cases despite fun fairs being given the go-ahead to reopen on July 4.

The Northern Echo:

Police have raised concerns and said they are in talks with partners concerning a number of issues.

A spokesperson from Durham Police said: “Newton Aycliffe Police are aware of the plans for the fun fair this coming weekend and we have serious reservations. We’re continuing to liaise with partners in relation to a number of issues.”

Newton Aycliffe residents also took to social media to share their frustration.

One Facebook user said: “Absolutely shocking that it’s being allowed, after all the hard work schools, teachers and parents have put in over the past few months only to have thousands potentially congregate in one area over half term, and then bring it back in to school the following week. Not exactly fair on our teachers and other children whose families have been keeping them and their families safe, is it? And people wonder why cases are so high in the North-East."

Another added: “It’s mental.

"The amount of hoops I had to jump through, and stress I had to endure just to get back to my job was unreal. Yet what is essentially a mass gathering is allowed. It’s an insult to those who have had weddings cancelled, or restricted numbers at loved ones' funerals.”

Owner of the fun fair, Brett Turner, has fired back at critics and claims the fun fair is "safer than going to Tesco".

He said: "It’s really frustrating. I understand where people are coming from because I want to keep my family safe as well, but this is my reputation and we have gone above and beyond the guidelines to make sure it’s safe. These extra precautions include hand sanitisers, personal protective equipment for the workers, minimising direct contact where possible, use of perspex type screens, sanitisation of each attraction after every use. It is safer than going to Tesco, we have been coming to Aycliffe for years and have never had any issues.

The Northern Echo:

“I just want to run my business and would welcome anyone who has concerns to come down before the event and see what we've done. We are limiting numbers, placing signs to ensure social distancing, putting sanitising stations around the event and on every ride."

Durham County Council have also expressed concerns.

Alison Clark, Durham County Council’s head of culture, sport and tourism, said: “The organisers do not require a licence to stage the fair as it is on private land, however they are subject to local and national coronavirus restrictions. We are liaising with Durham Constabulary and other partners and will be making contact with the organisers to offer advice and express our concern about the event going ahead.”