ORGANISERS of the CLA Game Fair have hired the Swinford Toll Bridge for three days as part of the plan to help ease traffic during this year’s event at Blenheim Palace.
About 150,000 visitors are expected to attend the annual event, which will be held at the Woodstock venue on July 18, 19 and 20.
The fair, which celebrates country life, hosts a number of attractions and activities, such as clay pigeon shooting, a gun dog competition and food market.
Organisers will adopt a similar traffic plan used when the event was last held at the palace in 2011. This will include renting the privately-owned bridge, near Eynsham, so the 5p fees for drivers are removed to ease congestion.
A helicopter and six static cameras are being deployed so that staff will be able to assess and act on traffic conditions. Twelve digital signs will provide information about diversions to road users.
There will also be 12 sets of manned temporary traffic lights on roads in the area and drivers will be encouraged to park in a field between Bladon and Begbroke to prevent traffic reaching the Bladon roundabout on the A44 before Woodstock.
And to encourage people to leave their cars at home, shuttle bus links will operate between Blenheim Palace and Oxford and Hanborough railway stations during the event.
The fair’s interim director Tony Wall, who created the traffic plan alongside the county council and police, said: “We have spent more than £100,000 on the traffic operation to minimise the effects on local traffic.”
Woodstock's mayor, Julian Cooper, said: “I welcome it from an economic point of view, but if they get the traffic wrong then it does cause a mild bit of chaos in this part of Oxfordshire.”
Some 26 staff began working alongside contractors last month on constructing the event site.
Preparation work includes setting up marquees and stalls for 1,000 exhibitors, installing 3km of fencing and maintaining 10km of underground water piping that was put in place for previous game fairs held there.
Head of operations Liz Haynes said: “It’s like setting up a small town basically. It goes from a plan on paper to something on the ground and you get a lot of pride out of doing it.”
THE CLA GAME FAIR IN NUMBERS
- 10km Length of underground pipes for waste and water, which will collect and remove more than
- 3.4m litres of sewage.
- 140 Number of tonnes of rubbish from the event, which is sent to furnaces to be converted into energy.
- 181 Total acres of Blenheim Palace used for the showground, while the campsite covers 111 acres and accommodates about 8,000 campers.
- 1,000 Total number of exhibitors.
- 26 Number of staff working alongside contractors working 10,000 hours in constructing and deconstructing the site between the end of May and late August.