Chichester's historic Sloe Fair could be thwarted by new Covid-19 site

The future of Chichester's historic Sloe Fair is uncertain as a Covid-19 testing facility is set to go ahead in Northgate carpark.

The Sloe Fair is believed to date back to 1100 when the city was granted a licence to hold a fair on the land.

The district council has said it is working with the events organisers to ensure they maintain the right hold the fair in the future.

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Expected in the 'middle of October' the new walk-through testing site will take up a section of the carpark.

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A spokesperson for Chichester District Council said: “In response to the current coronavirus pandemic, we are assisting the NHS Test and Trace service by providing them with a section of our Northgate car park in Chichester for a new walk-through coronavirus test site. This service will be available by appointment only.

“We expect the site to be operational from the middle of October. The majority of the car park will remain open for commuters, residents and visitors as usual.

“Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through testing site will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely, including: adhering to social distancing; not travelling in a taxi or on public transport; wearing a face covering throughout (including travelling to and from the testing centre); and washing their hands thoroughly before leaving for their appointment. This approach has been agreed with expert clinical oversight.

“Testing is proving an effective way to contain the virus and so this facility will play an important role in keeping our residents safe. Testing is available to anyone with coronavirus symptoms and can be booked by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

“Our priority is to work with our partners to respond to the current pandemic. Due to this, unfortunately the Sloe Fair will be unable to take place at Northgate car park this year. We are working closely with the organisers to make sure they maintain the right to hold the Sloe Fair in future years.”