A RUMOUR that the future of Bridgwater’s historical fair could be at risk has been quashed by community leaders.

People have expressed concerns about proposals to build a road through St Matthews Field (Fair Field) to give access to a potential development of 120 homes by Summerfield Developments.

But Sedgemoor District Council told the Mercury there are no plans to move Bridgwater’s fair, which has a history of 400 years at the field, from its home.

Sedgemoor’s Corporate Director, Allison Griffin, said: “Despite a number of recent planning applications in and around the St Mathews field site and rumours that the field may be sold for development, there is no risk of loss of the field and the future of the annual fair is not at risk.

“Sedgemoor works well each year with the Showmen’s Guild Western Section to put on the four day spectacular event and both parties wish to see this continue for many years to come.”

When asked about the access road, a spokesman for Sedgemoor told the Mercury: “There is an application by Summerfield which includes proposals to build on a small strip at the top end of the field which would be used for access.

“This is all subject to a full consultation and would provide much improved access to that area, including to the fair.”

According to a report by planning agent Angus Meek Architects, the Summerfield application site has an area of 5.2 hectares and includes the corner of St. Matthew’s Field, land under local authority ownership, to facilitate a new access road to serve the site.

It says the area is: “designated for improvements to perimeter hedgerows, fencing and footpath and cycle path links to link back to the main road.”

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the fair yesterday (September 26) Chairman of Sedgemoor District Council, Gill Slocombe, said: “The fair will continue, regardless of what you hear.”

Ceri Jones, 16, who was enjoying the rides yesterday with friends, told the Mercury: “It would have been a shame if this was the last fair so I’m glad it’s here to stay.”

Consultation on the application (ref 08/12/00143) ends on October 16.