Game Fair set to bring £30m to local economy

The CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace in 2011

The CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace in 2011

First published in News
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Witney Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

ABOUT £30m will be brought into Oxfordshire’s economy by this year’s CLA Game Fair, say organisers.

There are 150,000 visitors expected to attend the annual event, which will be held at Woodstock’s Blenheim Palace on July 18, 19 and 20.

Visitors will be able to take part in a variety of country activities, including clay pigeon shooting, watching demonstrations and shopping in a food market at the fair.

Every year the fair is held in a different location around the country. This is the fifth time the event has been held at Blenheim Palace since it began in 1958.

Andrew Crawford, event director for the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) Game Fair, said at its launch in London yesterday: “I think the big thing is that it is the celebration of the Great British countryside.

“It is not just field sports – there is an awful lot that goes on. It is a chance for people from towns and cities to come in and have a go. They may never have shot a gun before.

“They can have a go with a professional.”

He added: “We bring around £30m worth of economic impact. It brings people into Oxfordshire who spend their money. You cannot get a hotel room for 30 miles around.

“We use our local contacts as much as possible when we go into a local community. We want to work with them.”

The organisers say they are working hard on a traffic management plan to avoid the roads chaos resulting from the Blenheim event in 2008. They hope to build on the success of the plan when the fair was last held at the Palace in 2011.

Tony Wall, who has responsibility for the traffic plan as event control manager, said: “In 2008, we were following a cancellation in 2007, so we got absolutely rammed with people because they missed the previous year.

“Blenheim is always the most popular venue. It was very busy.

“The weather was perfect and we had the issues that we did.

“In 2011 we did a lot of work with the stakeholders. We had new car parks and we paid for the Swinford Toll Bridge for three days. The traffic worked brilliantly in 2011.

“You cannot put 22,000 extra people into any road system and not have any delays. But because of our capabilities we can move the traffic round.”

Organisers plan to use a park gate at the northern-most access point, near the A44, as the main entrance to keep traffic away from Woodstock town centre.

They are also proposing to run a shuttle bus service from Hanborough and Oxford train stations and to pay for the toll bridge again.

On holding it in Blenheim for the fifth time, Mr Crawford said: “It is almost like coming home. The estate is fantastic.”

ATTRACTIONS

EVENTS which will feature at the Game Fair include:

  • Demonstrations
  • Fine art exhibition
  • Angling exhibition, including fishing tuition and demonstrations
  • Food market and cookery demonstration theatre
  • Clay pigeon shooting
  • To find out more, visit gamefair.co.uk

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