The circus planned for next week on George Green has been cancelled because the ground is waterlogged, the City of London Corporation has decided. But the owner of the circus has written to Wansteadium to say the story is not over.
Matthew Wingate writes:
I own Circus Fantasia, we contacted City of London Authority last year with regards to bringing our small family circus to one of their sites. Sadly Wanstead Flats was not suitable for us for a number of reasons, the main one being, it’s not the safest place in the evenings, so we attract many young families who in our opinion would not travel to us at the flats.
We also encourage people to walk or use public transport to get to us. This is why City of London suggested George Green. Very close proximity to transport links and houses. The site is never used for anything other than dog walking and dog fouling.
We seat a maximum of 400 people in our big top. At Wanstead Flats circuses seat over 1500 people, so please look at the size comparison.
We have visited London Borough of Redbridge for the past four years, visiting Valentine’s Park, Ilford, Ray Park, Woodford and Goodmayes Park. We have never had any issues with these parks, nor with the local authorities. In fact Redbridge recommended us to City of London as a ‘no hassle’ organisation.
We have contributed over £40,000 over the past four years to the local coffers. We pay a large sum of money to stand on a site for a week.
We also DO NOT have any animals in our circus. all we are talking are clowns, magicians, trapeze, acrobats, a strongman etc. No live music, no fairground rides.
There are no requirements for us to notify residents, or any licences to obtain. Circuses have been part of British culture for more than 240 years.
Have you ever stopped to think how open spaces are kept up or how they are developed? Events like ours mostly fund the day to day up keep of sites like this.
We do not damage sites, we leave them exactly as we found them, litter is collected daily-(if any) a skip is in place for the rubbish to go into. There is no alcohol on sale at our events. It’s a family event for all ages and ethnicities.
We are a pucker legit company in the UK, registered for all tax, corporation tax and VAT.
Travelling circus people live in houses, but have to travel with the big top to entertain communities, we can’t open a circus in a town centre shop for obvious reasons. We are all educated people, not a bunch of drug-smoking hippies.
I suggest the residents of Wanstead and George Green, educate themselves first on circuses before making accusations. To sum up – as a circus director, I probably earn more money than most people in Wanstead, I can certainly afford to employ my solicitor to fight any problems we have with local opposition.
All I can say is get used to us, we will set up on George Green, if not this time then next time.
Please think about when you were a child, however long ago that was.