The ORGANISER of Conwy Celtic Fayre says the regular event has been cancelled after the council upped the licence fee.
Nigel Rose, from Tal y Bont, has been organising the event on Conwy quay for the past 13 years but says the fair has now been discontinued.
The Celtic fair featured gift, food, and arts and crafts stalls, attracting hundreds to the town, including city coach trips.
Nigel says that the fair paid around £180-£190 in ground rent for each event.
On top of that, Nigel says the event paid £21 a time as part of a temporary event notice charge.
But Conwy has now said the organisers must pay £500 each time for a street trading licence for five days (the charge is £100 per day).
This means the licence for the event, which was due to be held six times between Easter and October, has increased from around £126 to £3,000, pricing stall holders out of the market.
The fair’s cancellation is another blow to Conwy town after it was announced last month that the popular Gwledd Conwy Feast was also no more, due to funding issues.
Speaking to the local democracy reporting service, Nigel said he was both angry and sad.
“I’m surprised considering we have been on the harbour since 2010 for it to come out of the blue,” said Nigel.
“As far as I know, there wasn’t much consultation.
“We struggled to get permission. There were objections from businesses in the town until around 2012 when five coaches from Birmingham came up just for the Celtic Fayre.
“Obviously 250 brummies walking around Conwy completely changed the attitude of everyone in the town. They realised the fair delivered tourists in its own right. It was an attraction.
“It’s part of the tourism infrastructure if you like. It’s part of the local economy. Parisella’s Ice Cream used to come along and have a fridge there with us. We had lots of locals come along.”
Nigel runs an aroma therapy business and says he has customers all over the world that he picked up from his own stall at the fair.
He also claims the event has raised £100,000 for charity.
“I am angry, frustrated, and very sad,” said Nigel.
“This adds a very significant cost to the events and would result in stall rent increasing by over 30%.
“This is not viable or acceptable as it makes the rent too expensive.
“Stalls, mostly local, have to work hard making and selling their arts, crafts, food items, and gifts – an extra financial burden is unfair.
“In addition, the Conwy RNLI Lifeboat will no longer benefit from our fundraising.
“So, sadly, I am cancelling all Conwy Harbour Celtic Fayres.”
A spokeswoman for Conwy County Council commented: “Street trading laws apply throughout Conwy County Borough. Traders must seek consent from Conwy County Borough Council if they want to trade on any street in the county borough and action can be taken against traders who sell goods illegally.
“The term ‘street’ includes any road, footway, beach, or other areas to which the public have access without payment.”