There is traffic chaos around Wickham today after a large number of people ignored the fact the Wickham Horse Fair was cancelled.
Police posted on Facebook: “There are several road closures this morning around #Wickham and we would advise drivers to avoid the area and take alternative routes this morning.”
The police had been warned yesterday that a section of the travelling community were planning to ignore the closure after social media reports earlier in the week encouraged people to attend.
Many shops and most pubs in the area decided to close last night and today.
Residents going to work and trying to get children to school reacted with anger. One local said: “This is not acceptable. Why should ordinary people have their lives disrupted so that other people can break rules and ignore signs saying the Horse Fair is not taking place.
“The police should be being far more robust, for example, stopping horseboxes on the way to Wickham rather than closing roads and inconveniencing the majority.”
Another said: “Bit late now to tell people, we all knew it was going to happen you don’t close the shops and pubs for no reason.
“As usual unorganised chaos. How do you expect people to get children to school and get to work on time, when roads are so busy, without prior notice, especially as all the signs have said it was cancelled?”
Another said: “It’s not like this date is a surprise to anyone in the area.”
A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said: “Officers are currently on scene managing an ongoing incident in Wickham, in relation to the cancelled Wickham Horse Fair.
“Road closures are in place on the A334 from the junction with School Road until Titchfield Lane. There are also closures at Mill Lane and Bridge Street.
“The road closures are in place to maximise public safety, and not to facilitate the cancelled event. There is a filtering system to allow traffic through whilst maintaining the safety of motorists.
“We would ask that people take an alternative route where possible, and thank you for your patience as we work with our partners to manage this situation.
“This is a dynamic and ongoing situation that we are working on resolving. We again remind you that Wickham Horse Fair has been cancelled, and ask that no one attends with horses or vehicles outside of the small symbolic event already agreed.
“Our officers will be on patrol in the area today, if you have any concerns please don’t hesitate to come and talk to us.”
Photo: Library images