Plans for multi-agency response to Appleby Horse Fair discussed at public meeting

16 May 2024

Representatives of the Multi Agency Strategic Coordinating Group (MASCG) for Appleby Horse Fair discussed plans for the response to the 2024 Fair with local residents at a meeting held in Appleby Public Hall on Wednesday 15 May.

The MASCG was established in 2008 to ensure that all relevant agencies worked together to support the Fair and ensure that it is a safe and enjoyable event for residents and visitors. The group is chaired by Westmorland and Furness Council, with support from local councillors, representatives of the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities, Cumbria Police, Fire & Rescue and Ambulance services, the RSPCA, the Environment Agency and other agencies.

Westmorland and Furness Council Member for Appleby and Brough, Cllr Graham Simpkins, chaired the meeting and the speakers on the panel included Steph Cordon, Chair of the MASCG and Westmorland and Furness Council’s Director of Thriving Communities and Superintendent Daniel StQuintin of Cumbria Police. 

After an introduction from the meeting Chair, Steph Cordon began the meeting by reaffirming the MASCG’s commitment to engaging with and supporting communities in Appleby, Kirkby Stephen and the surrounding towns and villages. The MASCG Chair outlined a range of increased activities undertaken by MASCG representatives, including year round drop-in events with elected members and officer attendance at Town and Parish Council meetings to provide updates, answer questions and gather feedback.

A number of actions resulting directly from resident’s feedback were reported, including the installation of a new barrier at the town’s leisure centre, additional traffic calming measures to reduce the speed of horses and sulkies, improvements to Flashing Lane, including a new footway and a temporary guardrails to protect pedestrians and the provision of additional toilets and litterbins.

Superintendent Daniel StQuintin outlined the approach for policing at this year’s fair, highlighting how a pro-active approach to crime prevention and enforcement action had resulted in greater targeting of the minority of individuals causing issues at last year’s Fair and confirming that this successful approach would continue this year.

The Superintendent also announced that, for the first time, Police, Fire & Rescue and Ambulance service staff would work together from Appleby Police Station to improve incident response times. Additional CCTV cameras and new surveillance technology deployed in Appleby will also ensure that more areas of the town are visible to police, at all times during the Fair.

The second half of the meeting provided residents with an opportunity to pose questions and raise issues. A series of robust, but constructive exchanges followed on a range of topics, including the new Bunding, installed as a trial measure at the side of the A685 on the outskirts of Kirkby Stephen. One speaker expressed concern that the Bunding forced pedestrians to walk on the road, which posed a risk. 

Laura McClellan, representing Westmorland and Furness Council’s Highways Department, promised to investigate options for alleviating the problems, whilst others attending the meeting pointed out that alternative and safer routes were available at that location.

Other questions focussed on the provision of litterbins and temporary toilet facilities, as well as planned measures to prevent congestion at key locations in the town and the need to ensure the removal of litter from the riverbanks in The Sands area of the town to prevent the pollution of the river.

The meeting concluded with thanks for the good attendance and reassurances that the issues raised had been heard and would be addressed, wherever possible, at this year’s Fair. Cllr John Murray also expressed his thanks to the many members of staff from all the agencies involved in the response to the Fair for their hard work and dedication, prompting an appreciative round of applause from the audience.

Speaking after the meeting, MASCG Chair, Steph Cordon, said, “Tonight’s meeting confirmed the MASCG’s commitment to ongoing engagement with all the communities involved in and affected by the Fair. I’d like to thank everyone that attended the meeting for their time and the constructive nature of our conversations. The feedback we’ve received will help us improve the response to the Fair, ensuring it is a safe and enjoyable event for everyone.”

Further opportunities to provide feedback to the MASCG are available by using the feedback form at, or by contacting Westmorland and Furness Council’s Eden Community Development Team on 0300 373 3300 (Option 5).