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Royal Welsh Show travellers’ site loses council funding

17 Mar 2022 3 minute read
Royal Welsh Show – Cob day line up by Megan_Alys is marked with CC BY 2.0.

The Royal Welsh Show may not offer a designated site for the gypsy and traveller community when the show returns this summer.

The show, which has not taken place for the last two years due to Covid-19, normally accommodates the travelling community on Ysgiog field just outside Builth Wells.

The site has been formally allocated for over ten years, at a reported cost of around £10k each summer, which has been shared by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) and Powys County Council (PCC).

This year the local authority has announced that owing to “budgetary pressures” it is unable to provide its share of the cost.

According to the County Times, the RWAS has said that it will continue to finance its part of the cost but cannot cover the full amount and will liaise with Builth Wells Safety Advisory Group to minimise the impact of the decision.

Normally water bowsers, lighting, road tracking, portaloos and an on-site security team are provided at Ysgiog, and there are concerns that the absence of an authorised place for the travellers to stay may cause tensions in the community.

There is a fee of around £200 per caravan or vehicle charged to the visitors, who start arriving a week before the Royal Welsh Show begins.

Financial challenges

A PCC spokesperson said last week: “The council informed key partners two years ago that it would be withdrawing its contribution to the funding of the temporary gypsy and traveller site for the annual Royal Welsh Show due to budgetary pressures.

“As part of the 2021/22 budget, the council’s housing service proposed to deliver £25,000 savings from its housing general fund by withdrawing the funding for the temporary site as it is not a statutory requirement. The 2021/22 budget was approved by full council in February 2021.

“The Builth Wells Event Safety Group met last month where the issue was discussed. The decision was that a sub-group consisting of the relevant partners is set up to discuss the matter in more detail. The sub-group will be meeting later this month.”

The society’s chief executive Steve Hughson said: “The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and Powys County Council, together with other stakeholders, supported a very successful multi-agency partnership group which supported the gypsy and traveller community as it arrived in the Builth Wells area each year for the Royal Welsh Show.”

“The partnership was really successful in both providing a facility for members of the gypsy and traveller community and reducing the impact on the local community.

“We are disappointed that the local authority has made the decision to no longer share support in providing 50 per cent of the costs of running the facility. Given the obvious financial challenges we face the society cannot step in to fund the facility 100 per cent.”

The show, running from 18-21 July, is expected to be very popular this year as it returns to the Llanelwedd showground outside Builth, for the first time in two years.

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