No Surprises Living In Devizes: May fair scrapped… and winning takeaway fare

One Spice in Maryport Street, Devizes

DEVIZES once allowed lions to roam freely around the school, but in these structured days Devizes Lions have had to cancel an event due to health and safety regulations.

Won’t someone inform the doomed-if-they-do, doomed-if-they-don’t Wiltshire Council, Devizes Lions are an international service club and no one is going to get their bums bitten dancing around the maypole?

Here’s me thinking it’d be an easy column this week, just relay the results of a Facebook poll asking our humble town which takeaway they favoured and go enjoy the sun. Then wham; the Gazette wake me up before I go-go with a headline; Health and Safety Scuppers Devizes Lions May Fair.

Seems tradition cannot save the May Fair from going ahead this year, Devizes Lions member Peter Blockley announcing: “The club was unable to comply with Wiltshire Council’s interpretation of the regulations. We’re very sorry for any disappointment felt by the public, who have always supported this event.”

Reporter Joanne Moore explained that demands included, “a plan in case of a terrorist attack and for water, sun hats and sunscreen to be made available.”

It reads as if the world has gone completely bonkers, for the simple reason the world has gone completely bonkers.

Maybe the council has a point, I’m angered by all the terrorist attacks at events in Devizes; a the Christmas lights switch-on I saw a bearded foreigner, probably one of those Lapland extremists, on the roof of the Bear Hotel with some kind of electrical device. The next thing, I heard explosions.

Standing as a member of Devizes Guardians, Chris Greenwood said: “If elected, I will treat issues like this as essential for our heritage to continue, it will take an immense amount of local support, across all areas, in order to generate change, and regenerate our communities.”

Whereas Judy Rose, also of the Guardians, informed me: “We first heard about this a couple of weeks ago, by which time the cancellation was a done deal.

“It’s sad because it was a popular annual event. However, as neither the event nor the responsibility for the Market Place lies with the town council, there was little that could be done.”

However Laura Mayes, of Wiltshire Council, said that the regulations have not changed since last year: “The plan is standard for this type of event and is the same one the Lions have used in previous years.”

Wiltshire Council even went as far as stating: “We offered help and support but this has not been accepted this year.”

Seems a shame. If I’m honest, the May Fair could do with a reboot more so than Ghostbusters, maybe take a year out to CGI it a bit. I’m only irritated as seems it’s an example of the nanny-state using terror threats as a lame excuse to spoil fun, no matter how unlikely.

Leave red-tape to the experts at local election time, my concern is how this affects future events in the town.

Iain Wallis, organiser of the Sidmouth Street festivals, said: “I looked in to holding a small teenage craft market and was given a nine page application form. My issue is not the form; we must ensure that events are safe; my concern is there’s no sense, or laws, behind most of WC’s questions and little help.

“You’re given the form and left to it. I wrote a major incident plan; the terrorist attack thing, and included issues such as weather.”

It would be a bleak-looking future if we’re preordained to stay in our homes like some first world curfew, or is it just my tenacious remark to link what I was going to warble about this week?

Hundreds of users of The Devizes Issue Facebook group voted for their favourite takeaway in town in my poll. If I quickly run off the winners now, we could explore it in more depth next week, once the owners of takeaways have bribed me; I’m still waiting, belly rumbling!

Jade Garden was winning all the way through the poll, but was pipped at the post by One Spice, officially the best takeaway in Devizes!

Well done to them both, although I love One Spice’s excellent Indian cuisine, Jade Garden is not one I’ve tried yet since they’ve changed hands; something to look forward to.

With 96 and 84 votes respectively, the runners up were Ocean City and the Taste of Bengal, and the winning fish ‘n’ chip shop was the ever-busy and highly recommended Eastleigh Road with 68 votes, closely followed by the fresh-tasting Lee’s, coming in at 57 votes.

But I’m afraid that’s all we have time for kids, more next week with vinegar; now get out in the sunshine!




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