Leeds funfair aiming for smooth ride in years to come

A romantic kiss on one of the rides at the Valentine Fair, Elland Road, Leeds.
A romantic kiss on one of the rides at the Valentine Fair, Elland Road, Leeds.
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AN ORGANISER of the Valentine’s Fair at Leeds United’s Elland Road ground has played down fears that development schemes could drive the annual attraction away from the area.

Concerns have been voiced that projects such as a park-and-ride site and indoor ice rink on council-owned land next to Elland Road might leave insufficient space for the funfair in years to come.

But, speaking ahead of this week’s grand opening of the hugely-popular fair, co-organiser Stewart Robinson said he was optimistic it would continue to be business as usual in 2015 and beyond.

Mr Robinson, a director at independent firm International Funfairs, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It’s too early to say exactly how things are going to work in the future.

“I can certainly say that people want to stay here. We’re in the hands of the council but hopefully there will be plenty of room for us in years to come.”

The Valentine’s Fair is staged each year on the car parks that lie to the west of United’s ground.

Work has recently begun on the transformation of one part of the land into an 800-space park-and-ride site that is due to open in time for this summer’s visit of the Tour de France cycle race to Leeds.

Plans have also been announced for a permanent indoor ice rink adjacent to the park-and-ride.

Christine Thornton, chairwoman of Beeston Community Forum, which discussed the future of the fair at its latest meeting, said: “The fair has been in Beeston for many years and people have got used to it. It’s a big part of south Leeds. People are concerned about where it will go.”

A major new police headquarters, meanwhile, is taking shape on a site that lies on the opposite side of Elland Road itself. Mr Robinson said the start of work on the park-and-ride would have no impact on the size of this year’s event.

l The Valentine’s Fair opens at 5pm this Thursday and runs until February 23. For more details, visit www.valentinesfair.co.uk.

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