30 May 2007

Does Caernarfon need this? Big problems with the return of Big Wheel!

  1. Council to ask for £2,000 compensation to be paid by Cyffro to reflect the disruption/loss of income for Market Traders.
  2. Other businesses (even those located on the Maes itself) told of loss in trade due to last years 'event'.
  3. Shoppers said to have 'stayed away' during the 'event'.
  4. Neither Cyffro or the Big Wheel operators paid any rent during the 'event' whilst Market traders have to pay all year round.
  5. Market traders to 'stay away' if the Wheel is agreed.

Some of the traders have told the council they will not be coming to Caernarfon during the weeks which Cyffro Caernarfon Cyf hope to have the wheel on the Maes. This may be detrimental to the future of the Traditional Market in Caernarfon.

Local businesses who have tables and chairs on the Maes will be asked by Cyffro to remove them during the planned event. (With the new restrictions of non smoking establishments throughout Wales, this will be detrimental to their trade and may even pave the way for more traders to claim compensation due to loss of earnings).

As you may all recall, a ‘Big Wheel’ was located on Y Maes, Caernarfon for several weeks during the summer of 2006. A similar request has now been made to locate the Wheel in the same location for 7 weeks during July and August 2007. A planning application has also been approved by Council's Committee during its May meeting, but this in itself does not grant the applicants the permission to locate the Wheel there.


The application has been submitted by Cyffro Caernarfon, which advertises itself as a not for profit organisation seeking to promote activities in Caernarfon. The Wheel would be the same as the one which was there last year, and whilst the council said it it was generally welcomed, there were also problems, in particular the effect it had on the Market, which is held on the same area of land on Saturdays and Mondays throughout the summer.

In seeking to reach an amicable agreement between Cyffro Caernarfon, the Council’s Markets section and representatives of the Market traders, a number of issues were discussed and whilst the Market traders still remain fundamentally opposed, they also accept that the Wheel is of benefit to the Caernarfon economy in general.

The fundamental objections which the traders have are as follows:-

There is insufficient room for the Wheel and the market, resulting in many stallholders having to relocate, either on the entrance to Pool Street, or other land such as in front of the Midland Bank.

• Traffic is not prohibited from using Pool Street at all times, thus causing inconvenience to traders, as well as possible Health and Safety issues.

• Most traders, even those who can be located on Y Maes, report a loss of business.

Many regular customers of the market do not attend when the Wheel is there, and a legacy of this non attendance spilt over to the following months last year.

• Traders pay a rent to the Council, whether they attend or not, during the Summer period. In 2006, no rent was paid by the Wheel operators nor Cyffro Caernarfon, and this was a cause of friction.

• Certain traders have informed the council that they will not attend Caernarfon because the Wheel is coming. During discussions, the Market Traders expressed the view that they were prepared to support the application and work with the organisers, whilst Cyffro Caernarfon also gave assurances that they would ensure that certain matters were allowed.

As a result of these discussions, where the views of all concerned were expressed and listened to, the council, as the Service responsible for the running of the Market, propose that the Wheel be granted permission but that the following conditions are agreed:-

To reflect the disruption and to compensate for loss of income facing the service, that a fee of £2000 be paid to the Council. Traders will continue to pay full rent but this fee will contribute to lost earnings from those not attending and the additional enforcement work required.

• To enable stalls to use the service road in front of shops i.e. Macsen/Morgan Lloyd, etc. Cyffro Caernarfon will ensure that no shops or businesses put any street furniture out in front of their premise, thus enabling the pavement to be used as an emergency roadway.

That the service roadway bollards are kept up during market days, thus preventing vehicles from using the road, other that the access for emergency services.

• That the Wheel is located in such a way that entry onto it is from the other side to that which existed last year.

• That free parking is provided by Cyffro Caernarfon for the vehicles of traders (Cyffro offered this provision)

• That the Wheel operators conform to any conditions proposed by the Gwynedd Events Safety Advisory Group, which composes of the Council’s Highways section, North Wales Police, North Wales Fire Service and North Wales Ambulance, amongst others.

• That the Council’s Building Regulations section have copies of all relevant documentation and of the risk assessment.

• That the Council’s Highways section carry out a condition survey prior to the event and that Cyffro agree to make good or pay for any damage caused by the Wheel.

• So that market stalls can be relocated at the bottom of Pool Street and near the Cenotaph, arrangements are made with the Highways section to control traffic using Pool Street.

• That the Wheel closes at 7.00 p.m. every evening.

• That 24 hour security is provided at the Wheel to prevent any unauthorised activities whilst the Wheel is not in operation.

*The above information was taken from next week's Gwynedd Council Agenda.

The Planning application will be put before the council next week and we will inform you here first of the result.




Caernarfon Online, 16 Pool Lane, Caernarfon, Gwynedd. LL55 2AL

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