ORGANISERS of Ringwood carnival have voiced their fears the event is at financial risk if it is forced to take place at Carvers Recreation Ground for a third year in a row.

Due to prolonged remedial works by Wessex Water at Bickerley Green, the annual event in the New Forest town has had to temporarily move.

Ringwood Carnival Society was left in uncertainty last year and forced to run the event at Carvers.

It was believed the Bickerley would be available for use this year, however the works are continuing and organisers have been left in the lurch once again.

Supported by Ringwood Town Council, the carnival has been able to obtain compensation from Wessex Water after making less money from the event while at Carvers.

Addressing the council's recreation committee, members of the carnival society said a recent Facebook post about the situation at the Bickerley had put pressure on them.

Alix Gardner, current chair of the carnival society, asked councillors to establish a deadline for knowing if the event will be able to take place at the Bickerley this year.

Detailing the society's view on the situation, vice-chair Howard Cox said: "The Facebook posting raised the possibility of the fact that we would have to come back to Carvers for a third time. .

"At Carvers we can't get a very big fun fair and the smaller the fun fair the smaller funding we get from it.

"We have had the compensation and that has worked fine for two years but if we go there and there is possibly no compensation and possibly no track way to take the weight of the rides that is going to leave us with a major problem because it is two reasons why we will get a smaller fun fair.

"It is my guess we will be several thousand pounds down if Wessex Water are unable or unwilling to step up to the plate again with compensation."

Mr Cox said the hard core capping laid across the ground at the Bickerley could support the heavy fun fair vehicles and any damage would be cosmetic.

Councillors went on to discuss the current situation at the Bickerley and acknowledged the concerns raised by the carnival organisers.

The recreation committee instructed town clerk Chris Wilkins to approach Wessex Water for information on the current status of the works.

Mr Wilkins was given permission to instruct a surveyor, if required, to assess drainage on the Bickerley and oversee the works. He was also asked to liaise with Ringwood Carnival Society to discuss their position further.

Wessex Water confirmed to the Daily Echo that they will carry out further land drainage work at the Bickerley in late March or early April 2018, designed to remove the residual wet areas that are preventing the return of the green to the Ringwood community.

Project manager Bruce McAuslane said: “We are hopeful that the next phase of land drainage work will mean the Bickerley is available for this year’s community events.

“We appreciate local people’s frustration at being unable to use their green, but it has always been our intention to return it to them in at least the same condition we found it.

“We’ve been in regular contact with Ringwood Town Council and the carnival committee throughout this scheme, and we will continue to work with them for the benefit of the community.”